Your doctor may also refer you for blood tests such as:

  • Complete blood count (CBC), which measures the number of red, white, and other blood cells to ensure proper bone marrow function. It also gauges whether treatment is affecting blood cell counts.

  • Serum chemistry test, which evaluates levels of electrolytes, such as calcium and potassium, and certain enzymes (proteins). Doing so shows how well various organs are functioning. Abnormal levels of these substances can mean that cancer has spread.

  • Tumor marker tests, which check for certain proteins that cancer tumors produce in the blood. 

Bone Marrow Biopsy

A bone marrow biopsy removes a small amount of tissue from inside the bone. These tests are often done to look for lymphoma and to evaluate the health of the bone marrow. 

If your doctor recommends a bone marrow biopsy, your care team will apply an anesthetic to the skin over your hip and your doctor will insert a needle into pelvic bone to withdraw the necessary cells. You will be sore for a day or two after the procedure. 

Stanford Health Library

For confidential help with your health care questions, contact the Stanford Health Library. Professional medical librarians and trained volunteers can help you access journals, books, e-books, databases, and videos to learn more about medical conditions, treatment options, and related issues.

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