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Blood tests may help detect cancer, if performed correctly

Nobody likes to think about cancer, but for many Floridians this devastating disease is far more than a concept; it's a reality that has tragic consequences for their health and well-being. Fortunately, advances in diagnostic testing and treatment have made cancer more treatable, allowing many to successfully overcome it. However, this success often hinges on an early and accurate diagnosis.

There are many ways that cancer can be diagnosed. One of the most common approaches is to conduct blood tests. For example, complete blood count analysis may be performed. Through this test, doctors are able to measure the amount of differing blood cell types in an individual's blood. This could lead to the discovery of blood cancer. Blood protein testing, which analyzes the amount of differing proteins in the blood can help uncover multiple myeloma. Additionally, a doctor may order tumor marker tests. These tests utilize chemicals that detect tumor cells in the blood. These tests may not be as accurate, but they can indicate to a medical professional that additional testing may be needed.

These tests can be critical to effectively treating cancer. However, there is a lot of human intervention when cancer tests are administered and read. What does this mean? It means that mistakes can be made, leading to misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose cancer. Poorly performed tests and misread test results can all pose a serious threat to a patient's well-being.

Those who have been subjected to a missed diagnosis or a wrong diagnosis can suffer significant harm. Their medical condition may worsen, their chances of survival may lessen, and their pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages can take a toll. For this reason, those who have been wronged by a negligent doctor should carefully consider whether filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is in their best interest.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Cancer blood tests: Lab tests used in cancer diagnosis," accessed on Sept. 23, 2016

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