Modern medicine relies on three pylons of diagnostics: lab work, physical examination and medical imaging techniques. Every disease starts as a molecular imbalance and as the time passes by, tissues start to change under the influence of those molecular imbalances, making the disease “visible” in the eyes of health professionals and medical imaging devices. Often, the disease is diagnosed by its complication. The blood carries the traces of those subtle chemical imbalances months and sometimes even years before the first symptoms of a disease emerge. The earlier the health condition is diagnosed, the better is the outcome of its treatment. Having that in mind, it is clear that periodic lab work has tremendous significance in preventive medical care. To make this point even easier to understand, maybe it would be the best to go through an example of how periodic lab work can save a life.
The 5-year survival rate for the patients with a prostate cancer that hasn’t yet spread to other parts of the body is almost 100%. After 15 years, 96% of those patients are still alive. For the patients diagnosed with a prostate cancer that has spread throughout the body at the time of diagnosis, the 5-year survival rate is 29%.
Today, we have the knowledge and the tools to discover the patients with prostate cancer while it’s in the early stages of development. The blood carries a message that something is wrong with the prostate for months or even years before the symptoms emerge. What needs to be done is to measure the level of PSA from a blood sample. Reading the message on time makes the difference between the 100% and 29% 5-year survival rate groups. Although the periodic PSA testing can’t prevent the development of prostate cancer, it has a huge significance in early diagnostics which makes a difference between life and death. The prostate cancer is just one of many examples on how important is it to perform periodic lab work.
Lab work can provide a large amount of data that helps determine the health condition of an individual, although not all of this data are needed in each individual. The choice of parameters that needs to be checked depends on the age, gender, risk factors, family history and some other factors.
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