Blood counts and cancer 

Morphology is something we frequently overlook, but it needs to be done at least once a year. If you are experiencing unsettling symptoms, do not put off getting your blood tested. 

What symptoms should prompt us to perform a morphology?

I believe that even in the absence of disease symptoms, a complete blood count should be performed once a year. Additionally, this test needs to be done if there are any severe disease symptoms.

In particular, prolonged infection, severe weakness, hemorrhages, or the emergence of petechiae should prompt a blood examination. It is crucial to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of blood disorders and to remind people that many diseases, not just those affecting the blood, can be identified using this straightforward test. Disorders of other organs are also reflected in the blood, which functions as a kind of mirror.

How high of an ESR can indicate cancer?

I advise the ESR test in addition to morphology. This straightforward test can detect a variety of diseases. These are either inflammatory or neoplastic diseases. When the OB is greater than 20 but less than 40, the outcome should be concerning. If it persists or worsens, you must first repeat the test and continue the diagnosis. Diagnostics should be initiated without undue delay if the ESR is greater than 40. If the ESR is greater than 100, we are considered to be seriously ill. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that severe disease can occasionally arise without an accelerated ESR, so other symptoms need to be kept an eye on.

A general urine test is also worthwhile because it can speed up the detection of cancer by revealing the presence of blood or protein. Everyone should get these tests done at least once a year, even those who are asymptomatic. These affordable tests have the potential to save our lives.

Can we diagnose cancer based on blood counts?

In the peripheral blood, specific blood cell types are either insufficient or excessive. This examination can pick up on a wide range of leukemias, polycythemia, thrombocythemia, primary myelofibrosis, some lymphomas, and myeloma, as well as a large number of tumors in other organs that are secondary to anemia.

Such anemia might be a cancer precursor. A postmenopausal man or woman with particularly mild iron deficiency anemia may experience gastrointestinal bleeding, which is frequently the result of a tumor in this system. However, it does carry out diagnostics that will eventually result in a diagnosis. Finally, you can identify blood cell deficiencies using morphology.

When should morphology results be of concern? When can they indicate cancer?

The most typical signs of leukemia are elevated monocyte or lymphocyte levels. An increase in red blood cells may then be a sign of polycythemia vera, which we include in the so-called myeloproliferative neoplasms. In essential thrombocythemia, there is a very high concentration of platelets, or thrombocytes.

The incorrect values are typically indicated by the letters L (for low) or H (for high) in the result. The more the values marked in this manner deviate from the norms listed next to them, the more cause for concern and medical attention should be sought. In contrast, it is unlikely that we are in danger if the results are within the normal range.

Can the morphology clearly determine that we have cancer, or are other tests needed to confirm it?

Usually, even if a blood cancer is suspected, further tests are needed to determine exactly what type of cancer it is.



4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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