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Methods to diagnose bone cancer : Laboratory Tests

There are four laboratory tests used to diagnose bone cancer:

Alkaline phosphatase test

Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme that can be measured in blood tests. Normally, this enzyme is present in high levels when bone-forming cells are very active (usually in young children when their bones grow or when a broken bone mends). High levels of alkaline phosphatase can also be an indicator of bone tumors (when the tumor creates abnormal bone tissues). Even if this test is not always conclusive, it signals the need for further investigation.

PTH test

PTH (parathormone) is a protein hormone produced by the parathyroid gland. This protein is the most important regulator of body’s calcium and phosphorus. Lower-than-normal levels of parathormone can be an indicator of bone cancer.

Serum phosphorus

This is a test that measures the level of phosphorus in the blood. Higher than normal levels of phosphorus can be an indicator of bone cancer.

Ionized calcium and serum calcium

These are two blood tests that measure the amount of calcium in the blood. Ionized or free calcium is the metabolically-active portion of calcium and can be measured in blood tests. Calcium is an important element of the bone structure. Higher than normal levels of calcium can be an indicator of bone cancer.

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