WHAT ARE BLOOD MARKERS? A blood marker is any component in the blood that's associated with a condition, disease or symptom. Doctors look for something in the blood that they know affects, or is affected by, something else. Blood markers can indicate whether a system is healthy and functioning properly or if there's something wrong. In recent years, several studies have shown that higher amounts of proteins in the blood may be associated with various diseases. Identifying such biological markers as early as possible, before the onset of symptoms, could lead to earlier and better diagnoses, and earlier treatment. For instance, if elevated concentrations of certain neural growth "markers" are present at birth, it may be an indication that autism or mental retardation will develop later in childhood. Or, as with the BC Serapro test, the blood may contain indicators of breast cancer.
ABOUT BREAST CANCER: Breast cancer is a type of cancer in which cells in the breast become abnormal and grow and divide uncontrollably, eventually forming a mass called a tumor. Some tumors are benign, meaning that they do not invade other types of tissue, although if they become big enough, they can interfere with some bodily functions, such as the flow of blood or urine. Malignant tumors have cells that can invade nearby tissues. When a cancer "metastasizes," cells from the original tumor break off and travel to other parts of the body via the blood or lymph systems. More than 75 percent of breast cancers begin in the milk ducts within the breast. The next most common site is in the glandular tissue that makes the milk.