Blood chemistry tests measure levels of certain substances in the blood that can tell your doctor whether or not various organs are healthy and functioning properly during treatment. Tests may be done to measure:
- the levels of liver enzymes (special proteins involved in vital chemical reactions) and bilirubin (a substance that helps break down fat), to evaluate liver function
- levels of potassium, chloride, and urea nitrogen levels, which reflect the health of the liver and the kidneys during and after treatment
- calcium levels, to determine bone and kidney health
- blood sugar levels, which are important for people with diabetes and people taking steroids (medications to reduce swelling, pain, and other symptoms of inflammation)
Abnormal blood chemistry results also may suggest that the breast cancer has spread to the bone or liver. In this case, your doctor would order an imaging study, such as a bone scan or CT scan, to gather more information.