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Diagnosis of Blood Cancer

Blood Tests

Doctors use different types of blood tests for the diagnosis of different types of blood cancers because each type of blood cancer is complex and varied. A blood test which doctors use most often is the complete blood count (CBC) test because it accurately identifies the three vital factors used when diagnosing blood cancer types:

  • The types of cells the cancerous tumors contain
  • The patterns the blood cancer is using to spread and metastasize
  • If genetic factors partly cause the particular blood cancer you have

The complete blood count test accurately shows doctors the following in detail:

  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Platelets
  • Hemoglobin – this protein transports oxygen and other vital gases to your organ tissues
  • Hematocrit – this indicates the proportion of red blood cells that your plasma contains

If your CBC shows levels of any of these (or other factors) which are not in the normal range, you likely have a type of blood cancer. If you have blood cancer, you may be more prone to severe or potentially deadly bleeding problems. This is why your doctor will analyze your blood sample(s) for its ability to clot appropriately quickly. People with blood cancer have abnormal-looking white and red blood cells and counts, so doctors carefully analyze blood for these factors. The same thing is exact with cell shape and texture. You likely have cancer if your blood cells have an abnormal shape and texture.

Diagnosis of blood cancer depends on the type of blood cancer you have. Since these cancers are vastly different, their determination is different as well. For example

Diagnosing Leukemia

If you feel any symptoms mentioned, you should see your doctor, he or she will order a test for taking complete blood count to diagnose if your blood cancer is leukemia. The Complete Blood Count (CBC) test is invaluable because it can show the levels of white blood cells in comparison to the red blood cells and platelets in your body. If your white blood cells count is not healthy, but the count for the other two types of blood cells is, you will be officially diagnosed with leukemia.

Diagnosing Lymphoma

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above and you see your doctor immediately, the doctor will order a biopsy to be done (in addition to the CBC blood draw) to diagnose if your blood cancer is lymphoma. When your doctor does a biopsy, he or she will remove a small piece of skin tissue from your body and analyze it under a microscope. However, sometimes a biopsy alone is not enough to accurately diagnose lymphoma. Your doctor will order a battery of other tests, which include a CT scan, a PET scan, or x-rays to make a proper and complete diagnosis in these instances.

Diagnosing Myeloma

If you experience any of the common symptoms of cancer, your doctor will order many tests, one of which is the CBC. If the CBC test is inconclusive, your doctor will order urine tests to analyze the protein and chemical levels. If these levels are abnormal, this is a strong indication that you have myeloma. However, if the CBC and urine tests combined are inconclusive, your doctor will probe further to formulate the correct diagnosis by ordering a biopsy of your bone marrow. An x-ray of your bone marrow and blood cells, and MRI, CT, and PET scans of your bone marrow and blood cells. The combination of these tests has proven to be very useful when diagnosing myeloma which is a type of blood cancer.

The more the delay happens in the diagnosis of blood cancer, the deadlier it becomes. The cost of treatment also increases sharply with time. In such cases, people from weak financial background find themselves at a disadvantage. At Ketto, we try to help such people by giving them a platform to raise their voice for help. Every person who is in urgent need of money to meet his needs whether be it treatment for a deadly disease like cancer or any other personal goal or dream, can use Ketto’s platform to start a fundraiser and reach out to those who can help them.

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