Blood Cancer Tests
Because each type of blood cancer is unique, the diagnostic process is complex.
Details that help your doctor detect what type of blood cancer you have include:
- The types of cells involved in the cancer.
- The ways that blood cancer can spread.
- Genetic associations with certain types of blood cancer.
To reach the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, call 412-864-6600.
Blood tests can include a complete blood count (CBC).
This shows your levels of:
- Red blood cells
- White blood cells
- Hemoglobin – the protein that carries oxygen to your tissues
- Hematocrit – a measure of red blood cells in relation to the amount of plasma
An abnormal number or proportion of any of these can mean the presence of blood cancer.
Blood tests can also assess the blood’s ability to clot properly.
A pathologist can also view a sample of your blood under a microscope. He or she will check the shape of the red blood cells and count the white blood cells.
Pathologists use flow cytometry to look for certain proteins on the surface of the cells. By tagging a specific antibody with fluorescent dye, they can see if it's able to locate the proteins in question.
Genetic testing for specific mutations and molecular markers can reveal damaged chromosomes that cause certain blood cancers.
Having a blood sample drawn is a simple, routine test.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s vast resources give you access to every diagnostic technique, from simple blood tests to the most leading-edge technologies.