Types of Blood Tests Used for Cancer Diagnosis
Cancer is a dangerous disease that involves abnormal cells to replicate in the body, destroying healthy cells and tissues. For a long time, cancer was thought to be incurable, but with great advancements in the medical field, a timely diagnosis can largely improve the chances of a patient’s survival.
Here we are going to discuss some popular tests used to diagnose cancer in human cells.
Complete blood count (CBC)
CBC allows diagnosis of blood sample to detect various types of cells contained in the patient’s body. It can be used to detect cancer causing cells accompanied by a bone marrow biopsy to confirm the type of cancer developed.
Blood protein testing
Blood protein test is done to examine abnormal protein in the patient’s immune system. It is a very complex test that can accurately detect abnormal proteins (immunoglobulins) inside a patient’s body.
After protein testing, a confirmatory test like bone marrow biopsy is done to ensure the test results and to detect the type of cancer being developed.
Tumor marker tests
Tumor marker test determines the presence of tumor chemicals in a patient’s blood sample. Tumor marker test is comparatively less reliable as it cannot differentiate normal cell and cancer-causing cell in certain conditions.
It is rarely used because of its uncertainty factor and needs to be re-assured with other advance tests to make a firm diagnosis of cancer state.
Examples of tumor markers include prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer, cancer antigen 125 (CA 125) for ovarian cancer, calcitonin for medullary thyroid cancer, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) for liver cancer and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) for germ cell tumors, such as testicular cancer and ovarian cancer.
While blood tests can only provide for a doubtful clue, more definitive tests like biopsy are always needed to be sure about the cancer reports. Tumor marker test, on the other hand, is preferably used during the treatment phase to determine the effect of medication and status of cancer cells in the blood.
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