Making Cancer Personal: Tracking Lab Biomarkers to Support Cancer Risk Reduction

Cancer Risk Reduction Tracking Lab Biomarkers | SF Advanced Health

Cancer, like many other diseases, is something that you want to catch early so that you have the best chance possible of beating it; the earlier it's caught, the less likely it is to advance. But that still leaves questions as to how you can improve your cancer risk reduction odds, as well as what you can down to increase your odds of catching cancer early.

One of the best, and safest, ways of doing this is by tracking biomarkers. You may wonder what biomarkers are and how they are used to reduce cancer risk. Read on to find out more.

What Are Biomarkers?

A biomarker is a measurable substance in an organism (your body!) that indicates a disease, infection, or environmental exposure. Examples of biomarkers include everything from pulse and temperature to complex laboratory testing.

An ideal biomarker is:

Below please find an example of selected biomarkers and how they are used to monitor your health.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are common biomarkers. They are easy and safe to do and they offer a lot of different information about your body. There's a lot of different information your medical professional can learn from a blood test. In addition to providing a glimpse of what kind of illnesses you may have, they can also provide information on how your body is reacting to certain treatments.

If you're currently healthy, regular blood tests also provide information about whether you're beginning to develop certain illnesses. Regular blood tests monitor and measure normal biological processes. Because of that, you'll be able to get baseline measurements and then begin tracking any changes, which is beneficial when it comes to tracking and identifying the development of specific diseases.

Ferritin is a common test used to determine iron storage.  Low ferritin levels below 50 indicate intracellular iron deficiency.  Elevated ferritin levels above 70 indicate the body is absorbing too much iron from animal protein. This non-absorbable iron cannot deliver oxygen to all the cells in the body.  Instead, this excess iron becomes stored in organs such as the liver, heart, and pancreas and eventually threatens these organs’ vitality. Ferritin, an acute phase protein is released from these damaged cells into the bloodstream.  Ferritin eventually causes chronic inflammatory disorders such as malignancy, heart disease, and diabetes.

Complete blood count includes the count of platelets, red and white blood cells.  When these counts are too low or too high above the normal laboratory range, it demonstrates significant concerns with the integrity of the immune system. For example, long-standing anemia indicates oxygen cannot be effectively delivered to cells.  Over times, cells without sufficient oxygen become unable to produce energy nor effectively transcribe genes. This leads to gene mutations, the production of abnormal protein, and overgrowth of bad cancer cells.

A chronically high white blood cell count indicates an overworked immune system where immune cells have been infested with heavy metals, carcinogens, and mutagens and the microbiome within the gut is overloaded with excess bad bacteria.  These toxins steal essential nutrients from cells while insufficient good bacteria count within the gut prevent activation of many essential vitamins. A healthy immune system is well equipped to destroy these infected toxin-loaded cells by increased its production of white blood cells and developing a strong microbiome. As the immune system becomes weakened by frequent toxin exposure, nutrient-poor diet, and other lifestyle factors , the white blood cells eventually become weakened and the count gradually decreases.  These carcinogens then become successfully at gene mutations where cells divide and multiply rapidly to produce cancer cells.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a blood test to evaluate prostate gland inflammation and subsequent risk for prostate cancer.  A baseline PSA value is a stronger predictive factor of prostate cancer than family history or ethnicity.  One can take action to reduce prostate cancer risk through dietary changes and supplements in order to decrease inflammation and toxicity in the body.

How Do Biomarkers Help Reduce Cancer Risk?

Many biomarkers are established parts of the medical diagnosis system. Tracking and monitoring these biomarkers can help diagnose and prevent many serious chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and dementia.

Regular blood tests, checkups, and certain diagnostic tests (i.e., thermography) are non-invasive ways to track one’s cancer risk, aside from the detection of lumps near the skin’s surface, unusual discharge, rashes,  pain and discomfort.

Your medical professional can monitor and track changes of key biomarkers which demonstrate a compromised immune system.  For example, cancer may affect the number of, as well as diversity of, specific blood cells. Once a medical professional has established a healthy baseline for your biomarkers, they can track changes.

In cancer medicine, biomarkers are used in three primary ways:

  1. To help diagnose conditions, as in the case of identifying early stage cancers (Diagnostic)
  2. To forecast how aggressive a condition is, as in the case of determining a patient's ability to fare in the absence of treatment (Prognostic)
  3. To predict how well a patient will respond to treatment (Predictive)

Your healthcare professional will be able to detect certain symptoms of cancer before they have a chance to spread and diagnose your condition. Simple tests alone are not enough to diagnose cancer or any illness by itself, but they are enough to alert your medical professional to perform more tests, should there be any warning signs and start you on the path to a proper diagnosis and possibly reversing your course.

For cancer, this could mean identifying a tumor before it becomes malignant. Biomarkers provide an early warning system which can make a major difference in your treatment options.  Monitoring your biomarkers means that you and your medical professional are ensuring that you're in the best health possible. Book an appointment today to secure a healthier tomorrow.

 

Building Healthy Lifestyle at Advanced Health

Advanced Health’s integrative approach to medicine is based on understanding root causes of health problems and supporting our patients to make needed changes gently and sustainably. Along with taking a comprehensive history and physical exam, we use biomarkers, toxicology and nutrient testing, and thermography to diagnose health indicators before they become serious health issues. Contact us today to book a consultation, and learn how we can set you on the path to lifelong wellness. To book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What is Holistic Nutrition?

Holistic nutrition is a philosophy that recognizes health is multidimensional, comprising the physical, chemical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies.

How to Organize Your Kitchen

Learn how to organize your kitchen to shift to healthy eating habits. Make cooking pleasant and convenient so you enjoy the process and the results.

How to Reduce Toxins After the Holiday Season

As the new year gets under way, many people are trying to make good on resolutions that included "getting healthy," but what does that mean, exactly? Getting healthy means different things for different people; however, most people will be making it a poin