A complete blood count (CBC) test is a common laboratory blood test we use to detect cancer and monitor cancer treatment.
A CBC measures the number of blood cells circulating in the bloodstream. Specifically, it measures the level of red blood cells (which carry oxygen throughout the body), white blood cells (which fight infection) and platelets (which help with blood clotting) in a blood sample. The test also measures hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen) and hematocrit (the ratio of red blood cells to plasma).
A CBC can be used to detect a variety of conditions, including leukemia, anemia and infection. Also, since some cancer treatments can temporarily lower blood counts, our cancer doctors often use CBC tests throughout treatment to closely monitor a patient’s blood counts.