Laboratory Services in Portland

The role of the laboratory in cancer diagnosis and care

Laboratory tests may indicate if cancer is present in your body or if you have unique genetic risks for certain cancers.

One common lab test is the complete blood count (CBC). The CBC measures the amount of various types of blood cells in a sample of your blood. The count may indicate you have a blood cancer or can show you are fighting an infection somewhere.

Blood tests can also find proteins, enzymes or other substances that suggest you may have cancer. These tests can also give your doctor an idea of how well your organs are functioning and whether they are affected by cancer.

Some laboratory tests are based on genetic material in the blood (often called “markers”) that indicate the presence of tumors or risks for them. Sometimes these tests are repeated over time to see if these indicators change, suggesting a progressive condition.

Your cancer team

At Adventist Health Portland, your cancer care is always a team effort. There are often many members on your cancer treatment team you may not even meet. Led by your oncologist, these team members include laboratory experts and pathologists.

Whether your course of treatment involves chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or a combination of methods, ongoing and recurring lab and pathology tests will monitor your progress.