Getting cancer is a real fear for many women, and while survival rates of certain cancers are improving all the time, for others they remain stubbornly low, often due to late detection. This test measures levels of specific proteins in the blood which can be raised in certain cancers. While a high or low level in itself does not constitute a diagnosis, tumour marker tests are useful if monitored over time as any change can be acted upon quickly.
Key tests include: CEA (carcino embryonic antigen), a general tumour marker, cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) for ovarian cancer, and a FREE Bowel Cancer Check. Please be aware that tumour marker tests are not intended as screening tests but rather to monitor an already diagnosed cancer or to check for recurrence of a treated cancer. Cancer can be present despite normal levels of tumour markers and tumour markers can be elevated when cancer is not present.
Also includes red blood cells, white blood cells and clotting cells.
This test is for women who want to monitor levels specific tumour markers over time to be in a position to act quickly should any result come back abnormal for them.
We send you an easy-to-use kit to collect your blood sample.
Post your sample to our lab in the prepaid envelope provided.
View results securely in your own personal dashboard.
Our tests are not a substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms. Our doctors will interpret your results based on the information you have provided, but will not diagnose, consult or provide any treatment. You will be advised to see your doctor for any necessary follow-up action.
Haemoglobin carries oxygen and gives the red blood cell its red colour. This test measures the amount of haemoglobin in the blood and is a good measure of the blood's ability to carry oxygen around the body.
A high haemoglobin result can mean increased red cell production to compensate for chronically low oxygen levels in the blood caused by lung disease or living at altitude. While it can also indicate "blood doping" other causes can include dehydration, smoking and bone marrow disorders.
A low haemoglobin result indicates anaemia which can have many causes including pregnancy, blood loss, liver damage, iron deficiency and much more. A low haemoglobin level should be investigated in line with other symptoms and results.
HCT (haemocrit) measures the amount of space (volume) red blood cells take up in the blood.
Raised levels can result from pregnancy, living at altitude, dehydration as well as low availability of oxygen through chronic lung disease and even sleep apnoea.
Low levels indicate anaemia.
Red blood cell (RBC) count analyses the number of red cells in the blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. They also carry carbon dioxide back to the lungs so that it can be exhaled.
A high count (thicker blood) means there is a chance that the red blood cells will clump together and block tiny blood vessels. This also makes it difficult for your red blood cells to carry oxygen.
A low count (anaemia) means that your body may not be getting the oxygen it needs and can be caused by nutritional deficiency (lack of iron, folic acid, vitamin B12), over-hydration as well as bleeding and bone marrow disorders.
MCV (mean corpuscular volume) reflects the size of your red blood cells.
A high result may indicate a vitamin deficiency of folate or vitamin B12 and is often seen in excessive alcohol consumption associated with liver inflammation.
A low result indicates anaemia, often caused by iron deficiency.
MCH (mean corpuscular haemoglobin) is the average amount of haemoglobin contained in your red blood cells.
Together with MCV and MCHC, MCH results can help in the diagnosis of different types of anaemia.
MCHC (mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration) is the average concentration of haemoglobin in your red blood cells.
A high level can indicate the presence of spherocytes (a type of red bood cell with too much haemoglobin) or a deficiency of folic acid or vitamin B12 in the diet.
A low level can indicate chronic blood loss or iron deficiency.
RDW (red cell distribution width) shows whether the cells are all the same size or different sizes or shapes. Normally cells are fairly uniform, although a raised RDW result (indicating greater variaton in cell size and shape than is normally seen) can be caused by deficiency in iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid.
White blood cells are key to your body's immune or defence system. They fight infections and protect your body from foreign invaders such as harmful germs and bacteria.
A raised white blood cell (WBC) count can indicate recent infection, inflammation, trauma and even stress. Your WBC can also be raised when taking certain medications.
A decreased WBC can result from a vitamin deficiency such as folate or vitamin B12, as well as liver disease and diseases of the immune system.
Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that are responsible for helping your body fight infection. When neutrophils are low you can be more vulnerable to illness and infection.
Neutrophils can be raised after severe stress on the body from a bacterial infection, recent exercise or sudden kidney failure.
Low neutrophils can be casued by a deficiency in vitamin B12 or folic acid, severe bacterial infection and some autoimmune diseases.
Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell which fight bacterial and viral infections. They include T cells, B cells and natural killer cells.
Lymphocytes can be elevated for many reasons but it is common for them to be raised after recent infection, particularly after the flu. They can also be raised due to autoimmune disorders and some cancers.
The most common cause for lymphocytes to be depleted is the common cold.
Monocytes are a type of white blood cell that engulf and remove pathogens and dead or damaged cells from our blood. The heat and swelling of inflammation is caused by the activities of these cells.
Elevated monocytes can indicate chronic inflammatory disease, chronic infection, parasitic infection and Cushings disease.
Low levels can be due to autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthiritis as well as drugs which affect the bone marrow such as those used in chemotherapy.
Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell whose function is to remove parasitic infections as well as to regulate inflammation to mark an infected site.
Levels of eosinophils can be elevated if the scale of inflammation is greater than necessary to control the damage (as is the case in asthma and allergic responses) as well as in parasitic and fungal infections, autoimmune diseases and skin disorders.
Low levels of eosinophils are not usually cause for concern and can be caused by the administration of steroids.
Basophils are a type of white blood cell that protect your body from bacteria and parasites such as ticks.
An elevated basophil count can be due to inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and dermatitis, recent infection and hormone imbalance (e.g. hypothyroidism).
A low basophil count can be caused by pregnancy, stress and use of steroids.
A blood film report is an examination of the shape, size and number of blood cells under the microscope. Oxygen is carried less effectively by red blood cells if they are of abnormal size or shape, and this can result in anaemia. Too many or too few white blood cells can signify a blood disorder and can affect your body's ability to fight infection.
Platelets or clotting cells are the smallest type of blood cell and are important in blood clotting. When bleeding occurs, the platelets swell, clump together and form a sticky plug (a clot) which helps stop the bleeding.
If platelet levels are raised there is an increased risk of blood clots forming in blood vessels.
If platelet levels are too low there is a risk of easy bruising and uncontrolled bleeding.
MPV (mean platelet volume) is a measurement of the average size of your platelets. New platelets are larger than older ones and a raised MPV result occurs when increased numbers of platelets are being produced. MPV provides an indication of platelet production in your bone marrow.
Cancer Antigen 125 (CA125) is a protein which is produced by cancer cells and which can be raised in cancers of the ovary, lung, breast, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract.
As CA125 is also produced by normal cells it is important to know your base level and monitor regularly so that any change can be picked up early.
A raised level is not necessarily a sign of cancer, just as a low level does not guarantee that cancer is not present. Elevated CA125 can be caused by anything that causes inflammation in the pelvic region including menstruation, endometriosis, pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease. However, we recommend that all raised levels are investigated further.
Carcino embryonic antigen (CEA) is a glycoprotein that is normally found in small amounts in the cells. In cases of cancer, predominantly bowel cancer but also breast, lung, pancreatic and stomach cancers, levels of CEA can be elevated. It is generally used to monitor an already diagnosed cancer or to check that cancer has not returned.
An elevated result is not necessarily diagnostic of cancer (CEA can also be raised in other non-malignant conditions) and it does not indicate where a cancer is located. However, an elevated result should be investigated, especially if symptoms are present.
Its use as a screening test is not established. Like other tests for tumour markers, a change in level over time may be more significant than the absolute level at a given point in time.
We will send you your Essential Cancer Check (female) finger-prick blood sample collection kit which contains everything you need to take your blood sample in the comfort of your own home. If you are unsure about completing a finger-prick blood sample collection you will have the opportunity to select a clinic-based venous blood sample collection or choose to go our London laboratory during the checkout process.How to collect a finger-prick blood sample
Your Essential Cancer Check (female) includes 1st class postage and packaging for you to send your blood sample directly to our laboratory for analysis. If you live in an area where you cannot rely on the post or you simply want to ensure that your sample arrives at the laboratory the following day, you may wish to send your blood sample guaranteed next day delivery for extra reassurance.
Your blood sample will be analysed at one of our chosen laboratories. You can be assured of fast, accurate results from one of our accredited independent providers of clinical diagnostic tests.
Our medical team will comment on out-of-range blood results and give you follow-up advice where necessary. If you need it, a PDF copy of your Essential Cancer Check (female) results can be downloaded for your doctor.
Once you have placed your order you will receive login details to mymedichecks.com where you can manage your account, track your orders and view your Essential Cancer Check (female) results.
Stay motivated by filling in your online health and lifestyle questionnaire and seeing how improvements in your lifestyle can influence your results. Your medical and family history gives us vital information when interpreting your results.