Important Lab Tests for Those with a Cancer Diagnosis
If you look at our cancer clinic website, you will see mention of "targeting the micro-environment and making it as conducive as possible to your health, and the least conducive to disease." What does this mean, and how does one do this?
There are many lab tests that can help evaluate your internal biological milieu, especially when you have a cancer diagnosis.
These are the tests I recommend, and why.
1. CRP and sed rate: to evaluate levels of inflammation in the body. If these test results are high, herbs like curcumin, turmeric, and boswellia can be very helpful. Chronic inflammation can also be a risk factor for the tendency to form blood clots.
2. Hemoglobin A1c: a measure of tendency to diabetes and glucose imbalance. High blood glucose can feed cancer growth.
3. Fibrinogen and D dimer: measure the blood' s tendency to form clots. If these levels are high, it means that your cancer is secreting chemicals that lead to thickening of the blood, potentially leading to blood clots if not treated well. Cancers do this so they can hide from the immune system instead of being destroyed by it, which also makes it easier for the cancer to grow. An over-the-counter bromelian supplement can help lower fibrinogen levels.
4. 25 OH Vitamin D levels: If you have a cancer, or are in remission from cancer, these levels need to be between 60-80. If they are lower than that, you may need oral Vitamin D 3, which is best if taken combined with Vitamin K 2 for better absorption and utilization.
5. Of course, a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel)--which are common standard blood tests--can give insight into how your immune system, liver, and kidneys are doing.
6. If you have a prostate cancer, of course the PSA, and also total and free testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone, ought to be done. They give indications as to how a man's body is metabolizing testosterone, which can feed prostate cancer growth.
7. If you are a woman with breast cancer or history thereof, it is valuable to have a test done called estrone sulfate, a measure of total body estrogen.
8. LDH: a measure of how much lactic acid your body is producing. This can be important in many people with cancer, especially blood cancers and lymphomas, as a way of monitoring progress in treatment, as well as possibility of a good outcome of treatment.
9. Tumor markers: These vary, depending on the type of cancer you may have. They measure the levels of proteins that many cancers secrete into the blood. If these levels were high and are coming down, it is a good sign that your treatment is working.
10. Ceruloplasmin: Many oncologists have never heard of this test, and never run it. It is a measure of a protein that the liver makes to bind all the copper in your body. Why is this important? Copper enables cancer cells to make new blood vessels and spread. If the ceruloplasmin is high or even high in the normal range, it can mean you need to be on copper-lowering nutrients (that can include zinc supplementation) or medication. Remember, it is best not to be on a multi-vitamin when you have cancer, because many have copper and iron, both of which can feed cancer growth.
It is my professional opinion as an integrative cancer medical doctor that these tests should be routinely done on all patients with the diagnosis of a cancer, including those people considered in remission. Ask your primary care doctor or oncologist to run them for you, and don't take no for an answer. You need these results for accurate monitoring of therapy.
There are other lab tests that ought to be done in people whose cancer has spread elsewhere in the body, but that would need to be determined on an individual basis.