Measuring the level of leukocytes and hemoglobin is the first step in the diagnosis of any disease. This fact is due to the fact that the cellular composition of the blood is sensitive to any changes in the human body. Detection of oncopathology, as well as any other disease at an early stage and correctly selected treatment tactics, significantly improve the outcome prognosis.
Do blood tests indicate cancer?
The results of the blood test for oncology make it possible to suspect the presence of the disease. However, this analysis does not allow to determine the system in which the pathological focus is located. The referral to blood sampling is provided by the therapist, and in case of suspicion of a malignant neoplasm, follow-up and additional diagnostics are carried out by an oncologist. A general blood test can be performed in a private or public medical laboratory. Deadline does not exceed 1 day.
In most cases, a leukocyte level is elevated in a person affected with cancer, a sharp increase in ESR and a decrease in hemoglobin level, however, according to one blood test, it is unacceptable to make a verdict on the presence of oncopathology. For the final diagnosis, use additional methods of laboratory (analysis of tumor markers) and instrumental diagnostics (ultrasound, MRI).
Leukemia leads to a decrease in the number of platelets (possibly reducing the number of all blood cells) due to bone marrow dysfunction. However, one-time insignificant deviations of the blood test results are not diagnostically significant. This fact is explained by the fact that all laboratory criteria can vary in humans depending on the time of day and physiological state. These conditions are not life threatening, and all the more do not indicate the presence of a tumor with 100% accuracy.
Hemoglobin in Oncology
Hemoglobin is a specific protein that is part of red blood cells and is a transporter of oxygen from the lungs to all organs and tissues, as well as carbon dioxide on the way back.
Low hemoglobin and oncology may be related to each other, since a decrease in the rate is recorded in more than 60% of patients. This condition has its own definition – anemia (anemia).
Normal levels of hemoglobin in the blood of a healthy person:
- men – from 130 to 174 g / l;
- women – from 110 to 155 g / l.
Deviations by several units in any direction, has no effect on the general condition of the person. But in the presence of a malignant tumor, anemia, shock conditions, severe infections and
Important: in oncopathology, the hemoglobin value is ten times less than normal values.
A complex of symptoms indicates a decrease in hemoglobin level:
- general malaise;
- attacks of acute pain in the thoracic region;
- rapid onset of dyspnea even with calm walking;
- pale skin;
- brittle nails and hair loss;
- cold sweat;
- heart rhythm disorders;
- reduction of the body’s natural defenses (immunity).
Causes of hemoglobin decrease in blood in oncology
Hemoglobin levels during cancer can vary for different reasons. It is important to establish the cause of the decrease in protein concentration in each case in order to know how to raise hemoglobin and prevent the complication of the course of the disease in the future.
The cause may be due to internal bleeding. Oncopathology often causes such a complication, especially with the active progression of a malignant tumor or against the background of a side reaction from the prescribed therapy. Other reasons that may contribute to a decrease in serum hemoglobin levels are determined separately:
- gastrointestinal dysfunction as a result of problems with the absorption of iron;
- spread of metastases to the bone marrow;
- loss of nutrition (in cancer of the stomach, esophagus or intestines), as a result of iron deficiency in the body;
- the use of potent drugs and procedures (chemotherapy or radiation), the adverse reactions of which are a decrease in the ability to blood;
- acute intoxication of the body, due to the constant growth and decay of a malignant tumor in the latter stages of oncology.
High hemoglobin in cancer
There are cases when a patient’s cancer reveals a high level of hemoglobin, for example, when:
- kidney or liver cancer;
- Vaquez-Osler disease – a pathological condition during which there is an excess production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.
Thus, the increase in hemoglobin in oncology is no less important indicator than its decrease. Therefore, the diagnosis of oncological diseases cannot be considered complete without a general blood test.
How to raise hemoglobin in cancer?
If the blood test shows low hemoglobin in oncology, it must be increased. For this purpose, special medications are used in combination with a diet.
In medical practice, the means that can raise the level of hemoglobin include:
- transfusion of purified red blood cell mass;
- the introduction of erythropoietin – a drug to stimulate the bone marrow, after which the body marked increased synthesis of red blood cells and hemoglobin;
- solutions and tablets of preparations of iron ions.
For cancer patients developed a special diet that allows you to raise the concentration of hemoglobin and keep it at an optimal level from the very beginning of the disease. It is worth noting that without drugs of iron ions this method does not work well, so it needs to be combined with the above-mentioned medical procedures.
Products shown to normalize hemoglobin levels:
- high in iron (liver, spinach, maize, peas, and peanuts);
- oat, wheat, buckwheat and barley porridge;
- fortified foods with high content of vitamins C, B12, folic acid;
- infusions of berries, compotes and juices (preferably freshly squeezed). Every day, you should drink 2 liters of liquid;
- sprouted wheat for breakfast.
Leukocytes in oncology
In most patients, the number of leukocytes in the blood serum during oncology increases significantly (leukocytosis) to combat mutant cells in the body. The number of leukocytes is controlled by the human immune system. With the weakening of the natural defenses, malignant cells begin to divide so quickly that white blood cells do not have time to destroy them.
If the normal value of the index in people older than 16 years is from 4 to 10 * 10 9 units, then leukocytes with cancer reach critical values. It should be noted that the standard values of the considered value for cancer have not been established, since they can vary in a rather extensive amplitude (from insignificant increases to tenfold).
What do low values of leukocytes in the blood indicate in oncology?
In medicine, this condition is called leukopenia. It is noted that most often this condition develops in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. This happens because the human body does not perceive the prescribed drug, there is no positive dynamics in the treatment of oncopathology. Doctors adjust the course of therapy and transfer the patient to more aggressive methods of treatment, which adversely affect the cellular composition of the blood.
In addition, leukopenia can cause malfunction of the kidneys and liver, which lose their ability to remove toxins from the body.
Low concentrations of white blood cells in diseases, including oncological diseases, can also be detected in cases of bone marrow dysfunction. For example, in patients under the age of 30 years, leukopenia occurs much less frequently than in aged patients. This is explained by the fact that the bone marrow of a young body has a higher reserve of leukocyte synthesis.
It should be noted that the results of the general blood test depend on the diet of the patient. In a situation where the body receives few nutrients, it begins to deplete, and therefore the negative impact of chemotherapy drugs becomes more pronounced.
Correction of high leukocytes in cancer
The level of white blood cells in oncology increases with many types of leukemias, during which hormone therapy is prescribed. Taking corticosteroids reduces the intensity of the symptoms and increases the bone marrow reserve.
Hormone therapy with severe leukemia, is able to suppress mitotic processes in the lesions, while providing additional resistance to the tumor.
Initially, treatment is carried out in small doses, but if the patient has a negative trend, then the doses administered will gradually increase. In severe stages of the disease, as well as in a brightly flowing hemorrhagic syndrome, treatment is carried out with the maximum permissible doses of steroids.
Correction of low leukocyte levels in oncology
Leukocytes in cancer are often reduced in the process of taking chemotherapeutic drugs. For this reason, the state of leukopenia requires special attention.
If one week before the expected date of a new course of chemotherapy in a patient, the leukocyte count does not return to normal, then drugs that can cause additional synthesis are prescribed to therapeutic measures. In a situation where blood tests will not return to the beginning of the main anticancer treatment, the medication is prolonged for a while by adding hormones.
It should be emphasized that:
- complete blood count is a mandatory method of laboratory diagnosis in cancer pathology, however, its use separately from additional laboratory and instrumental examinations is unacceptable at the formulation of the final diagnosis;
- in most cases in patients with oncopathology there is an increase in the level of leukocytes and a decrease in total hemoglobin in the blood;
- timely diagnosis of any disease allows you to achieve the most positive prognosis, including full recovery.
Julia Martynovich (Peshkova)
In 2014 she graduated with honors from the FSBEI HE Orenburg State University with a degree in microbiology. Graduate postgraduate FGBOU IN Orenburg GAU.
In 2015 at the Institute of Cellular and Intracellular Symbiosis, the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences underwent advanced training in the additional professional program Bacteriology.
Winner of the All-Russian competition for the best scientific work in the nomination Biological sciences 2017.