Interpreting basic lab results.

One of the most common blood work you are likely to get in your lifetime is a CBC.  CBC stands for complete blood count. It is a ubiqituous test that looks at the health of your bone marrow, the factory where all blood cells are produced. A typical CBC result looks like below. The numbers in the midle are normal ranges for a male. The numbers on the far right are the units of measurement.

WBC———– (3.4-10.8)————– x10E3/uL
RBC———— (4.14-5.8)————– x10E3/uL
Hgb———— (13-17.7) —————g/dL
Platelets—— (150-450)————- x10E3/uL

WBC stands for white blood cells. WBC numbers increase during periods of infection, tissue injury, chronic inflammation or worse cancer. Leukemia, which is cancer of the blood, leads to very high numbers of WBCs being prouced in the bone marrow.

Red blood cells (RBCs) carry within them a molecule called Hemoglobin (Hgb) which carries oxygen. Platelets function to prevent blood loss by clotting. When the bone marrow is hijacked by cancer cells to only produce more cancer cells, it neglects the production of others such as RBCs leading to low Hgb and platelets leading to generalized weakness, fatigue &  increased risk of bleeding.

There are currently no method of detecting these blood borne cancers apart from annual blood work (CBC) done to check up on your health.