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Blood tests may help detect cancer early

Cancer is a word that no one in Massachusetts likes to think about. Tragically, though, it is a very real illness that millions of Americans and their families must face. The good news is that with advances in medical technologies, procedures, and medications, cancer is becoming more treatable. When detected early, an individual may see an increased chance of survival and remission. However, much of a treatment's success depends on an early and accurate diagnosis.

There are many ways that a medical professional can test for cancer. One of the more common ways to diagnose cancer is to conduct blood tests. These tests can look for different things, signaling to a doctor that cancer may be present. For example, a complete blood count test can detect blood cancer if there are too many or too few of certain cell types. Also, blood protein testing can detect abnormal proteins in the body's immune system, which could be an indication of multiple myeloma. Tumor marker tests can also seek out chemicals that are released by tumor cells, thereby allowing for cancer detection.

Though these tests may allow a patient to receive a quick diagnosis and therefore efficient treatment, it is all dependent on a medical professional's ability to identify necessary tests and to properly read test results. A failure in any of these steps can lead to a missed diagnosis. This, in turn, can allow the cancer to progress and lead to a worsened medical condition.

This is just one of the many examples of the heavy responsibility carried by medical professionals. These trained and experienced individuals should be able to provide a certain level of medical care, benefitting their patients. However, if a failure to diagnose causes harm to an individual and damages are incurred, such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering, then whether or not a medical malpractice lawsuit can be pursued may be considered.

Source: Mayo Clinic "Cancer blood tests: Lab tests used in cancer diagnosis," accessed on Oct. 7, 2016

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