Blood Testing; Cancer; White cell count; 050315


If a person has cancer, would that show up in the white blood cells?


It could, but it doesn’t have to. One of the problems with science fiction, especially things like Star Trek, where they have those computers that they wave over people and it tells you everything is right and wrong with them. When you are looking at blood work, there are things called “Limits of detection”, “Limits of error”, and then there is this: You only see that which you are prepared to see and you will only find that which you test to find. So when you do a blood study, and I do some rather substantial panels, very, very comprehensive, you cannot look for everything.

When you look at Quest, and Quest is a pretty decent group, all things considered. Look at their menu of testing. It’s like the size of a small city phone book. The options of test that you can run are enormous.

You are not going to look for everything and you’re not going to find things that are not tested for. If results might suggest cancer, it is an indirect study for the most part. Wonky liver enzymes are very common, but what else causes wonky liver enzyme levels? Autoimmune disorders very commonly cause autoimmune hepatitis. Does that mean you have infectious disease? No. It just simply means that your enzymes are a little bit off.

It is a good question, but do not become too reliant on blood studies to tell you that you have a disease, or even that it’s clinically significant. You have to take these things with a grain of salt.

About David S Klein, MD 149 Articles
David S. Klein, MD, FACA, FACPM was born in Washington, DC, and was raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Maryland with degrees in Chemistry and Psychology. Medical School was completed at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, followed by Internship in General Surgery at the University of North Carolina and Residency in Anesthesiology at the Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Dr Klein has been practicing medicine since 1983, concentrating in Pain Medicine, Minimally Invasive Medicine and Surgery, and Neuroendocrinology. Earning Board Certification in Anesthesiology, Dr. Klein was elected Fellow in the American College of Anesthesiology, and he was elected Fellow in the American College of Pain Medicine. He is currently an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida, School of Medicine. He has focused his private practice on treating patients with hormone imbalance issues, nutritional deficiency related medical problems as well as pain related issues and impairment. With a highly-complex, CLIA licensed laboratory in-house, he has been able to provide rapid-turn around analysis efficiently and cost-effectively. Lecturing extensively nationally as well as internationally, Dr. Klein has authored many articles on topics relating to pain, injury and nutritionally modulated illness. His radio show, “Pain Free Living,” received top ratings during the 6 years it was on the air. Currently practicing in Longwood, Florida, Dr. Klein practices entirely in the office setting.