To prepare for radiotherapy - and indeed during a patient's radiotherapy/chemotherapy treatment - it may be necessary to take blood and other specimens.
These specimens are tested for the following reasons:
- We check a patient's blood to see if they have the 'normal levels' of white cells required to combat infections. We also check levels of red cells and haemoglobin to ensure that the patient's energy levels are sufficient during treatment.
- Haemoglobin is a type of protein that gives red blood cells their characteristic colour. It combines with oxygen and is very important in the transportation of oxygen to our body tissues.
- We test patient's blood compatibility with donor blood in case the patient needs a transfusion. If levels of haemoglobin are too low a transfusion is needed.
- We conduct biochemical tests to check the healthiness of a patient's organs before and during treatment. If test results show any abnormalities, i.e. scores which are outside the normal range, the doctor is informed and he may decide that the patient might need certain re-vitalising fluids and minerals.
- Pathology tests also check the patient's microbial status we look for micro-organisms or 'bugs' in the body - which will allow the care staff to have standby antibiotics and other medicines on hand to help prevent the development of any infections during a patient's treatment.
For more information see Phlembotomy (Blood Tests) FAQs page