Complete blood count and cancer. How high erythrocyte sedimentation rate indicates cancer?

Blood counts may indicate malignancy, e.g. leukemia, some lymphomas and myeloma. Also, a high ESR may indicate cancer. What morphology and ESR results should be of concern and may signal a serious disease

We often forget about morphology , but it should be done at least once a year. If you are bothered by disturbing symptoms, do not delay the blood test. The question about the morphology, tumor and other tests, including ESR.

What symptoms should prompt us to perform a morphology?

In my opinion , a complete blood count should be performed once a year without any disease symptoms. In addition, this test should be performed in the event of any serious disease symptoms.

In particular, the blood should be examined in the case of: prolonged infection , significant weakness , hemorrhages or the appearance of petechiae . It is important to disseminate knowledge about the symptoms of blood diseases and remind that many diseases (and not only blood diseases) can be detected with this simple test. Blood is a kind of mirror in which disorders of other organs are also reflected.

How high ESR can indicate cancer?

In addition to morphology, I also recommend the ESR test . This is a very simple test that can signal many diseases. These are either neoplastic diseases or inflammatory diseases . The result should be alarming when the OB is above 20 but below 40 . Then, first of all, you need to repeat the test and continue the diagnosis if it persists or increases. If the ESR is above 40 , diagnostics should be started without undue delay. If the ESR is above 100 , it means that we are seriously ill. But it is important to remember that sometimes severe disease develops without an accelerated ESR and other symptoms should be watched for.

It is also worth performing a general urine test , as detecting the presence of protein or blood in it can also accelerate the detection of cancer. I recommend performing these tests to everyone, also without any symptoms, at least once a year. These are cheap tests, and they can save our lives.

Can we diagnose cancer based on blood counts?

Deficiencies of particular types of blood cells and their excesses are detected in peripheral blood. Various leukemias, polycythemia, thrombocythemia, primary myelofibrosis , some lymphomas and myeloma , but also many tumors of other organs that secondary to anemia can be detected from this examination .

Such anemia may be the first sign of cancer. Especially seemingly trivial iron deficiency anemia in a postmenopausal man or woman suggests bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, and this is often caused by a tumor of this system. This does not make a diagnosis, but it does run diagnostics that will eventually lead to it. Finally, morphology allows you to detect deficiencies of individual blood cells.

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

Increased levels of monocytes or lymphocytes are the most common symptoms of leukemia. In turn, an increased number of red blood cells may suggest the presence of polycythemia vera, which we include in the so-called myeloproliferative neoplasms. One of them is essential thrombocythemia, which is characterized by a very high number of platelets, or thrombocytes.

Typically, the result shows the letters L (for low) or H (for high) next to the incorrect values. The more the values marked in this way differ from the norms given next to them, the more you should be concerned and see a doctor. Conversely, if the results are close to the normal range, it is unlikely that we are in danger.

Can the morphology unequivocally 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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