All about indicators of blood tests in oncology

First of all, it is worth noting that it is not possible to determine the presence of a malignant neoplasm by blood or urine tests, since such a study is non-specific with respect to neoplasms. But in any case, deviations from the norm indicate a pathological process in the body, which gives a serious reason for further medical examination.

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General blood analysis

The general analysis includes the study of all types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, their quantitative and qualitative composition, determination of the leukocyte formula (percentage of different types of leukocytes) and hematocrit (volume of red blood cells), measurement of hemoglobin level.

Blood sampling for analysis is carried out in the morning strictly on an empty stomach. The day before the analysis, it is recommended to refuse to take fatty and heavy foods, otherwise this can lead to incorrect indicators. For research, capillary blood is taken, usually from the ring finger, using a sterile disposable needle.

When decoding the general blood test, the doctor first draws attention to such indicators as:

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR);
  • Hemoglobin;
  • Leukocytes.

The ESR rate for men is 1-10 mm / hour, for women – 2-15 mm / hour. Deviation from these indicators indicates an inflammatory process and general intoxication of the body. Exceeding this indicator over 60 mm / hour indicates the breakdown of tissues in the body and, as a consequence, the presence of malignant neoplasms.

Hemoglobin is a complex chemical compound of protein and iron. It is the presence of iron atoms in the blood that determines its red color. The main function is the transfer of oxygen from the respiratory system to the tissues. Normally, the hemoglobin level is: in women – 120-150 g / l (during pregnancy – 110-155 g / l), in men – 130-160 g / l. A sharp decrease in hemoglobin to indicators of 70-80 g / l, as well as a sharp increase in it, can occur with various oncological diseases.

White blood cells, or white blood cells, perform a protective function in the body. They purify the blood from dead cells, fight viruses and infections. On average, the number of leukocytes in the blood of a healthy person does not exceed 4 – 9 x 109 / l. The content of white blood cells in the blood is not a constant and can fluctuate throughout the day.

Biochemical analysis allows you to analyze the work of internal organs, as well as obtain information about metabolism. The analysis is submitted strictly on an empty stomach, therefore, before visiting the laboratory, it is recommended to refuse food intake for 8-12 hours, and completely eliminate the use of alcoholic beverages in two weeks. Blood for analysis of about 5 ml is taken from the patient’s elbow vein.

C-reactive protein (CRP) – like ESR, indicates an inflammatory process in the body. Norm – 0 – 5 mg / l. Deviation from the norm occurs with autoimmune diseases, fungal, bacterial or viral infections, with tuberculosis, meningitis, acute pancreatitis, malignant neoplasms with metastases.

Glucose is the level of “blood sugar.” The norm is 3,33-5,55 mmol / l. Values ​​exceeding the norm indicate the development of diabetes mellitus, malignant neoplasms of the pancreas.

Urea – the final product of protein metabolism in the body, excreted by the kidneys. The norm is 2,5 – 8,3 mmol / l. An increase in the indicator indicates deviations in the work of excretory organs.

Creatinine – like urea, is an indicator of kidney function. The norm is 44-106 mmol / l.

Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found in almost all body tissues. Norm – 30-120 units / liter. An increase in concentration may indicate tumors in the bone tissue.

Enzymes AST (norm – 0-31 U / L in women, 0-41 U / L in men) and ALT (7-41 IU / L). An increase in these indicators is evidence of impaired liver function.

Proteins (albumin and globulin) – take an important role in metabolic processes. Standards: albumin – 35 to 50 g / l, globulin – 2.6-4.6 g / deciliter. Deviation from noma to a greater or lesser extent indicates pathological processes in the body.

Cancer can be suspected by the results of standard and special studies. With pathological processes in the body, changes in the composition and properties of blood are reflected in:

  • general blood test;
  • biochemical research;
  • analysis of tumor markers.

However, it is impossible to reliably determine cancer by a blood test. Deviations of any indicators can be caused by diseases that are not connected with oncology in any way. Even the specific and most informative analysis of tumor markers does not give a 100% guarantee of the presence or absence of a disease and needs confirmation.

This type of laboratory test gives an idea of ​​the number of basic shaped elements that are responsible for blood functions. A decrease or increase in any indicators is a signal of trouble, including the presence of neoplasms. A finger sample is taken (sometimes from a vein) in the morning, on an empty stomach. The table below shows the main categories of a general or clinical blood test and their normal values.

When interpreting the analyzes, it is necessary to take into account that, depending on gender and age, indicators may vary, and there are also physiological reasons for increasing or decreasing values.

Name, unitDescriptionQuantity
Hemoglobin (HGB), g / lRed blood cell component, transports oxygen120 – 140
Red blood cells (RBC), cells / lRed Taurus4-5×10 12
Color indicatorDiagnostic for anemia0,85 – 1,05
Reticulocytes (RTC). %Red blood cells0,2-1,2%
Platelets (PLT), cells / lProvide hemostasis180-320×10 9
ESR (ESR), mm / hThe erythrocyte plasma sedimentation rate2 – 15
White blood cells (WBC), cells / lPerform protective functions: maintaining immunity, combating foreign agents and removing dead cells4-9×10 9
Lymphocytes (LYM),%These elements are components of the concept of “white blood cells.” Their number and ratio is called the leukocyte formula, which has important diagnostic value in many diseases25 – 40
Eosinophils,%0,5 – 5
Basophils,%0 – 1
Monocytes,%3 – 9
Neutrophils: stab1 – 6
segmented47 – 72

Almost all of these blood counts in oncology change in the direction of decrease or increase. What exactly does the doctor pay attention to when studying the results of the analysis:

  • ESR The erythrocyte plasma sedimentation rate is higher than normal. Physiologically, this can be explained by menstruation in women, increased physical activity, stress, etc. However, if the excess is significant and is accompanied by symptoms of general weakness and low-grade fever, cancer can be suspected.
  • Neutrophils. Their number is increased. Especially dangerous is the appearance of new, immature cells (myelocytes and metamyelocytes) in the peripheral blood, characteristic of neuroblastomas and other oncological diseases.
  • Lymphocytes These oncology indicators are higher than normal in oncology, since it is this blood element that is responsible for the immune system and fights cancer cells.
  • Hemoglobin. It decreases if there are tumor processes of internal organs. This is explained by the fact that the waste products of tumor cells damage red blood cells, reducing their number.
  • White blood cells. The number of white blood cells, as shown by tests with oncology, is always reduced if the bone marrow is metastasized. The leukocyte formula then shifts to the left. Neoplasms of a different localization lead to an increase.

It should be borne in mind that the decrease in hemoglobin and the number of red blood cells is characteristic of ordinary anemia caused by a lack of iron. An increase in ESR is observed in inflammatory processes. Therefore, such signs of oncology by blood analysis are considered indirect and need confirmation.

The purpose of this analysis, which is carried out annually, is to obtain information on metabolism, the work of various internal organs, the balance of vitamins and minerals. A biochemical blood test for oncology is also informative, since a change in certain values ​​allows you to draw conclusions about the presence of cancerous tumors. From the table you can find out what indicators should be normal.

A biochemical blood test may suspect cancer if the following values ​​are not normal:

  • Albumin and total protein. They characterize the total amount of proteins in the blood serum and the content of the main one. A developing neoplasm actively consumes protein, so this indicator is significantly reduced. If the liver is affected, then even with good nutrition, a deficiency is observed.
  • Glucose. Cancer of the reproductive (especially female) system, liver, lungs affects the synthesis of insulin, inhibiting it. As a result, symptoms of diabetes appear, which reflects a biochemical analysis of blood in cancer (sugar levels increase).
  • Alkaline phosphatase. It increases, first of all, with bone tumors or metastases in them. May also indicate oncology of the gallbladder, liver.
  • Urea. This criterion allows you to evaluate the work of the kidneys, and if it is elevated, there is an organ pathology or there is an intense protein breakdown in the body. The latter phenomenon is characteristic of tumor intoxication.
  • Bilirubin and alanine aminotransferase (AlAT). An increase in the number of these compounds informs about liver damage, including cancer.

If cancer is suspected, a biochemical blood test cannot be used to confirm a diagnosis. Even if there is a coincidence on all counts, additional laboratory tests will be required. As for the direct delivery of blood, it is taken from a vein in the morning, and it is impossible to eat and drink (it is allowed to use boiled water) from the previous evening.

Basic analysis

How is it done?

Hemoglobin levels are determined using a general blood test. For laboratory research, it is necessary to take biomaterial from a vein. To ensure the accuracy of the results, it is better to donate blood in the morning without breakfast. This will ensure a clean research and reduce the possibility of error. Using this analysis, you can only determine the body’s response to the tumor process, but not the localization and stage of the disease.

Cancer Prevention

Unfortunately, at this point in time it is not possible to completely prevent the development of cancer. But compliance with certain preventive rules can minimize the risk of illness:

  • Complete cessation of smoking and alcohol abuse;
  • Dieting;
  • Sports activities;
  • Compliance with the daily routine;
  • Reducing the time spent in direct sunlight;
  • Annual medical supervision, especially for those at risk.

How to improve the result?

Fall hb

A blood test often determines low hemoglobin for cancer. The reason for this may be different factors. In oncology, at first there is a slight decrease in this indicator to 90 g / l, which is not clinically manifested, but leads to serious disorders. Even such a result must be paid attention so that the patient’s condition does not worsen.

Diet correction

Products containing iron:

The use of iron-containing foods normalizes the level of hemoglobin, especially with chemotherapy.

Eating these foods can raise Hb levels and keep them within normal limits. The addition of iron-containing substances to the diet is necessary during the period of chemistry and radiation therapy during the entire rehabilitation period. Correction of Hb with mild anemia is possible using only a change in nutrition. This allows you to reduce the drug effect on the patient’s body.

Causes of deviations

Low hemoglobin in oncology and a decrease in other indicators of a general blood test are associated with intoxication of the body with cancer tissue products. This often occurs with bone marrow metastasis. Due to the decay of the tumor, damage to the capillaries with hemorrhage and a sharp drop in hemoglobin develop, which manifests itself as posthemorrhagic anemia.

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Svetlana Borszavich

General practitioner, cardiologist, with active work in therapy, gastroenterology, cardiology, rheumatology, immunology with allergology.
Fluent in general clinical methods for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, as well as electrocardiography, echocardiography, monitoring of cholera on an ECG and daily monitoring of blood pressure.
The treatment complex developed by the author significantly helps with cerebrovascular injuries and metabolic disorders in the brain and vascular diseases: hypertension and complications caused by diabetes.
The author is a member of the European Society of Therapists, a regular participant in scientific conferences and congresses in the field of cardiology and general medicine. She has repeatedly participated in a research program at a private university in Japan in the field of reconstructive medicine.