Can Blood Tests Detect Cancer Anywhere in the Body
Cancer, Tests & Procedures

Can Blood Tests Detect Cancer Anywhere in the Body?

Once in a while, you have had your friend, relative or even prominent personnel have passed on due to cancer, have you ever wondered what this cancer is? Actually, cancer also is known commonly as Malignancy is a condition where there is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in any part of the body.

Research done show that there are more than 100 different types of cancer among them include lung cancer, lymphoma, breast cancer, colon cancer among others. An individual with cancer will show different sign since different cancers have different symptoms. Since cancer can affect anyone routine blood testing is required. Most people wonder if blood tests detect cancer anywhere in the body. The answer is yes.

When one is diagnosed to be having a cancer different treatment can be carried depending on the position of the cancer and the type of the that cancer. Some of the treatment used includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. All different types of cancer can be treated successfully if at all the diagnosis is done while cancer is at an early stage.

Types of Cancer

There are Four Main Types of Cancer and They Include

Carcinomas – These begin on the tissue or skin that cover glands or internal organs. They usually form solid tumors. These are the most common cancer according to the research done and they include lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer.

Sarcomas – These ones are found most in the connecting and supporting tissue of the body. They can grow on the tendons, bone, muscles, blood vessels, joints, nerves among other connecting tissues.

Leukemia – This is the cancer of the blood. It occurs when the healthy blood cells start to change and grow in an uncontrollable way. Some of the types of this group include chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, and acute myeloid leukemia.

Lymphomas – These one start in the lymphatic system. They are two non-Hodgkin lymphomas and Hodgkin lymphoma. A lymphatic stem is a network of glands and vessels which helps our body fight infection.

Can Blood Tests Detect Cancer Anywhere In The Body?

If a doctor suspects an individual to be having cancer the first step is to order different cancer blood tests and other lab tests. For example, urine or even a biopsy may be done on the suspected area which helps in the guiding of the diagnosis.

With the exemption of blood cancer, different blood tests done by a doctor cannot tell whether an individual has cancer or some sort of noncancerous condition. These tests just give the doctor some hint of what is going on inside the patient body.

It should be noted that the fact that the doctor has ordered for cancer blood tests does not mean that the individual has been diagnosed cancer. The main reason for requesting for this test may be your doctor has observed some signs related to cancer.

Blood Tests to Detect Cancer

Whenever doctor takes a sample of patient blood for cancer testing, they exam whether the blood has cancer cells fragment, protein or even DNA fragment. Presence of tumor fragment is a sign the individual has cancer. The most used cancer blood tests by doctors in recent days include the following


This blood test is used in detecting small and tiny particles of proteins and DNA released by the cancer cells into the bloodstream. As it is known small tumors start to release minute’s abnormal proteins and mutated DNA into the bloodstream. This test has the ability and can accurately detect mutated particles of DNA in 10000 of normal DNA fragments.

Research reveals that this type of blood test can be used in detecting the presence of breast, stomach, ovarian, lung, liver, bowel among others types of cancer. The advantage of this method is that it is less invasive, therefore, can be performed to any individual who doesn’t even suspects to have any cancer.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

CBC is a full blood count measure. It measures the amount and condition of different types of blood cells in a sample of blood that is white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells help in the supply of oxygen in the body. Low red blood cells are characterized by shortness of breath and feeling of tiredness.

White cells help our body fight infections some example of white blood cells include lymphocytes and neutrophils. Platelet helps in a blood clot in case of an accident. A low level on platelets in our body is characterized by abnormal bleeding. The common blood cancers diagnosed by this test include lymphoma and leukemia.

Apart from detecting the type of cancer individual has this test can help to determine whether cancer has spread to other parts of the body like bone marrow and also to monitor the side effects of cancer treatments.

Tumor Marker Tests

As the tumor cells continue to multiply they produce different chemicals known as Tumor Markers, through tumor marker tests this chemical can be detected in the person blood. It should be noted that this chemical is also produced by normal cells. Therefore, cannot be used conclusively to ascertain the presence of cancer further test may be required. This test is used in rare cases and in most cases is considered for use to confirm the diagnosis of cancer cells in the body.


Although blood tests can detect cancer anywhere in the body, it should not be used conclusively to ascertain the presence of cancer as other noncancerous cells can still bring abnormal results. A blood test should be used by a doctor just to give a clue, as more tests may be required to be done for example a biopsy to affirm the condition. If diagnosed with cancer, Tumor Marker is most preferred to help the doctor in determining how the treatment is responding to the individual.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad