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Midlothian, IL
A 24-year-old male asked:

can a blood test tell if someone has cancer or not? or are x-rays the only way to tell?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Devon Webster
Medical Oncology 22 years experience
Rarely.: Cancer requires a pathologic diagnosis. That means someone has to look at tissue under a microscope to determine if something is cancer. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells, and it can sometimes be diagnosed just by looking at the blood. But other types of cancer require a biopsy of a suspicious lump or mass. Xrays and blood tests can suggest the diagnosis, but only a biopsy can say for sure.
Dr. Rawhi Omar
Pathology 44 years experience
No single test: There is no single blood test just for cancer. However, routine blood count and some other basic blood tests do give some clues that the patient may have cancer somewhere. X-rays do not provide a definitive dx of cancer either: just more reliable clues (images). Definitive Pathology dx requires a biopsy from the lesion if solid or more detailed tests if blood cancer (leukemia) is suspected

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Last updated Jan 22, 2015

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