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Laboratory tests are an analysis of:
There are many different types of laboratory tests:
|Type of test||Example|
other body fluid tests
Many laboratory tests can be used as a part of a routine checkup. A laboratory test may be done to:
When a condition or disease such as cancer is diagnosed, laboratory tests may also be used to:
Preparation depends on the type of test being done.
Samples of blood, urine, tissue or other types of body fluids are taken and sent to a laboratory to be analyzed or examined under a microscope.
Results are usually measured in numbers.
Some tests provide a simple positive or negative result, but many tests give results that must be compared to a normal reference range or to results from previous tests to have meaning.
Normal test values are usually given as a range rather than as a specific number because normal values vary from person to person and laboratory to laboratory.
Many factors can affect test results, including:
Tissue examination can reveal what type of cells are seen and if cancer cells are present or not.
Some laboratory tests are precise, reliable indicators of specific health problems. Others provide more general information that simply gives doctors clues to possible health problems. Information obtained from laboratory tests may help doctors decide whether other tests or procedures are needed to make a diagnosis. The information may also help the doctor develop or revise treatment plans.
All laboratory results must be interpreted in the context of the overall health of the person and are generally used along with other examinations or tests. A doctor familiar with the person’s medical history and condition is best able to explain test results and what they mean.
The doctor will decide if more tests, procedures, follow-up care or additional treatment are needed.
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