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Blood studies are tests that examine a patient's blood. They are the most common tests done for cancer patients. They help doctors follow the course of a patient's disease and select the right treatment dosage.
Blood can be drawn in a variety of ways, depending on your child's situation. The most common way to draw blood is to insert a needle into a vein. However, children undergoing chemotherapy may have a central venous line in place from which blood can be drawn.
Every child responds differently to getting his or her blood drawn. Some children like to know in advance if they are going to have blood drawn, others will become overly anxious. Some children prefer finger pokes, while others prefer the blood be drawn from a vein. Whatever the issues are for your child, you should try to find ways to give them some choices, such as which finger or arm to poke, so they feel they have some control.
If your child is anxious about needles, talk to a member of the treatment team. There are ways your child can be helped through medical play or relaxation to relieve their anxiety. For example:
It is important to understand your child's preferences and how your child reacts. This way you can appropriately prepare your child in a way that reduces anxiety.
A complete blood count (CBC) is a test to thoroughly examine a person's blood. It is the most common test done for children with cancer because it tells doctors how treatment is affecting the bone marrow, where blood cells are made. A CBC can identify when your child is ready for their next round of chemotherapy, if a transfusion is needed, or whether there is an increased risk for infection.
Blood can be drawn for a CBC in a variety of ways, depending on your child's situation. The most common way to draw blood is to insert a needle into a vein. Blood can also be taken from a central venous line (a tube inserted into a large vein during a period of treatment).
Blood chemistry studies provide information about how your child's organs (such as liver and kidneys) are functioning. It is especially important to monitor organ function during cancer treatment. These studies also show if the levels of sodium, potassium and many other elements in the blood are normal.
Blood can be drawn for blood chemistry studies in a variety of ways, depending on your child's situation. The most common way to draw blood is to insert a needle into a vein. Blood can also be taken from a central venous line (a tube inserted into a large vein during a period of treatment).