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Cancer Adjuvant Therapy

The Critical Importance of Scheduled Blood Tests

It is important to measure the successes or losses in regard to treatment-associated tumor response. Evaluating tumor markers in the blood or tumor imagery provides a basis for calculating regression of the disease. In addition, tumor markers provide direction for introducing other therapies if failures are evidenced.

Table 1: Type of Cancers and the Tumor Marker Used for Assessment

Type of Cancer

Tumor Marker Blood Test

Ovarian cancer

CA 125, CK-BB

Prostate cancer

PSA, PAP, prolactin, testosterone

Breast cancer

CA 27.29, CEA, alkaline phosphatase, and prolactin (or CA 15-3 rather than the CA 27.29)

Colon, rectum, liver, stomach, and other organ cancers

CEA, CA 19-9, AFP, TPS, and GGTP

Pancreatic cancer

CA 19.9, CEA, and GGTP

Leukemia, lymphoma, and Hodgkin's disease

LDH, CBC with differential, immune cell differentiation and leukemia profile

It is also important to evaluate the effectiveness of immune-boosting therapies and guard against anemia and therapeutic toxicities. At a minimum, a monthly complete blood chemistry (CBC) test that includes assessment of hematocrit, hemoglobin, and liver and kidney function should be done in all cancer patients undergoing treatment.

An immune cell test should be performed bimonthly, measuring total blood count, CD4 (T-helper), CD4/CD8 (T-helper-to-T-suppressor) ratio, and NK (natural killer) cell activity. Also consider tests measuring cortisol levels (Cortisol am and pm) and HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone that may be elevated 10-12 years prior to a diagnosis of cancer. For information regarding test availability call (800) 208-3444.