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Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers
There are a number of medical conditions that can be detected by a simple blood test, but as researchers become aware of new markers and signals associated with certain illnesses, lab results grow more instrumental in diagnosing more complex illnesses. Certain fluctuations in various blood levels and protein concentrations can indicate to clinicians that a syndrome is likely to exist, leading to more thorough medical tests based on these basic blood testing samples.
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a series of protein readings in basic blood tests that have been tied to the presence of lymphedema in patients, a condition that occurs when lymphatic tissues are no longer draining fluids correctly. This illness can cause serious infections and other complications, and since it is most often present in cancer patients, the repercussions of fluid buildup could be significant.
The study looked at about 30 patients, both unaffected and those already diagnosed with lymphedema, to isolate common factors in their blood tests. While researchers found that healthy and cancerous tissues showed concerning genetic markers, the concentration of specific proteins was higher among diseased samples than healthier samples. The final panels showed that six proteins were present in high volumes to definitively indicate the presence of blockage and infection, but several of them together could still be a sign that more intensive testing is necessary.
Preventative care measures
The Mayo Clinic wrote that there is presently no treatment for lymphedema, meaning that accurate and timely diagnosis of this illness is essential for promoting longevity. There are a number of treatments available to help patients control symptoms and reduce the overall impact of the condition, so being able to isolate the disease with only a basic blood test could result in better turnaround time between initial testing and beginning medicinal care.
The National Cancer Institute wrote that it's important for clinicians to begin continuous care plans and monitoring post-surgical patients in order to stay ahead of these kinds of illnesses. The incidence of lymphedema in cancer survivors can occur anywhere from 30 days to three years after a surgical event, so regular blood tests during this period might be advisable for individuals in this risk group.
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