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What Blood Tests Are Used to Diagnose Cancer?

Feb 4, 2022

Although blood work can only reveal if a person has blood cancer, many doctors use these tests to learn more about their patients’ experience with the disease. In some cases, blood test outcomes signal that the patient may have cancer. Located in New Jersey, TOPLAB® helps healthcare providers and individuals nationwide receive fast and accurate results for routine blood tests. We discuss some of the most common blood tests used to detect cancer to guide the screening process.

Frequently Used Cancer Screening Blood Tests

Blood tests help physicians identify cancer in multiple ways, from highlighting the presence of cancerous cells to indicating if cancer has impacted organ function. Doctors also use blood work to see if cancer comes back following chemotherapy or other treatments. The following blood tests are utilized often to help healthcare providers form cancer diagnoses:

Complete Blood Count

A complete blood count (CBC) evaluates the types of blood cells bone marrow produces, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. If this test measures an abnormal amount of one cell type or detects irregular cells, the patient may have cancer. Doctors frequently use CBC tests to diagnose leukemia and lymphoma, locate kidney cancer, or observe progress with chemotherapy.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

Comprehensive metabolic panels (CMPs) provide numerous insights into a patient’s health that help doctors identify different types of cancer. For example, a CMP can reveal that a person has hypercalcemia or elevated calcium levels. Hypercalcemia indicates multiple cancers, including breast, lung, kidney, and ovarian cancer. Additionally, CMPs can express how well the patient’s body reacts to cancer treatments and therapies.


This blood test is specifically designed to detect monoclonal antibodies and unusual immune system proteins, also known as immunoglobulins. Elevated immunoglobulin levels and monoclonal antibodies can assist doctors in diagnosing people with multiple myeloma.

Tumor Blood Markers

Doctors can distinguish the presence of tumors by looking at the chemicals they produce in the bloodstream. Tumor markers are most beneficial once a cancer diagnosis is established, as they highlight whether the cancer is expanding or diminishing. These results can help physicians determine if they must alter treatment plans.

Since normal cells also generate tumor markers, they are not always the best indication of the disease. Sometimes, elevated tumor marker levels point toward a noncancerous disorder. However, doctors still use tumor markers to diagnose many cancers, including liver, thyroid, ovarian, testicular, and prostate cancer.

Circulating Tumor Cell Tests

Biomarkers in the blood can signify that normal cells are changing into cancerous cells. Circulating tumor cell (CTC) tests search for these biomarkers in patients at a higher risk of developing cancer, such as those whose parents or grandparents suffered from the condition. One FDA-approved CTC test exists for breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer screening, but this test is seldom administrated in medical environments.

Genomic Testing

Genomic tests look for gene mutations to determine the likelihood that a patient will develop cancer. Tissue biopsy is the most common method for gene testing, but some blood tests also detect mutations. Like CTC tests, genomic examinations look at family history to establish a patient’s risk for getting cancer.

Attain Blood Work for Cancer Screening from TOPLAB®

Medical practices and consumers looking for reliable cancer blood work should turn to TOPLAB® for solutions. We are a small lab that uses state-of-the-art equipment to deliver fast and reliable results on multiple cancer blood tests, such as complete blood counts and metabolic counts. Our lab is in Millburn, NJ, but we provide blood testing kits to healthcare facilities and patients throughout the U.S. Contact us today to order test kits or learn more about our blood testing services.