It is easy to fall into the trap of viewing cancer simply as a tumor in an area of the body. However, cancer should be thought of as a systemic disease affecting the body as a whole.
Before tumors are large enough to be detected on a CT scan, PET scan, or MRI, they are already releasing what are known as circulating tumor cells into the blood. These circulating tumor cells, also known as CTCs, are cancer cells which ultimately lead to the progression and spread of cancer if not eliminated. Anyone who has had cancer––even someone who is in “remission”––will often have some level of CTCs. Thus, it is obvious that we should be measuring these cells, not only at the time a cancer diagnosis is made, but also at regular intervals during and after treatment.
Our favorite test for measuring CTCs is the Biocept test. The advanced technology used in this test allows for a wide variety of CTCs to be measured, and thus provides the best evaluation of cancer’s presence inside the body.