While Calcitonin the name of a hormone, the test used to determine the levels of Calcitonin present in one's blood also goes by the same name. This test may be useful when dealing with medullary thyroid cancer (that is, MTC) or even C-cell hyperplasia. This test is used in diagnosing as well as monitoring both the above mentioned conditions. Another use for this test would be screening such as in cases of individuals who have a higher risk for the disorder known as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (That is, MEN 2).
Since it can help with monitoring as well as diagnosing, Calcitonin plasma or Calcitonin serum test may be ordered if symptoms of MTC are present. The monitoring function comes in if a MTC diagnosis has already been conducted. Other cases where Calcitonin may be recommended include family members having either multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 or MTC. This could be true even if the family member for whom the Calcitonin test is prescribed is asymptomatic for MTC. This could also be done in case of medullary carcinoma patients when it comes to follow-up, subsequent to surgery.
There is no preparation usually required for Calcitonin tests. This blood test for Calcitonin does not necessitate fasting or any other pre-test routine.
Calcitonin in plasma could be studied or Calcitonin in serum could be measured and a blood test is usually involved. High levels could indicate a problem, since MTC is typically distinguished by the large concentration of serum Calcitonin. Calcitonin levels could also be studied in plasma. Another point about these tests is that those Calcitonin tests are more sensitive which aim at stimulating the levels of this particular hormone. This is as compared to those that simply measure Calcitonin alone.
Such tests typically need a sample collection prior to the intended stimulation of Calcitonin. Following this pre-stimulation sample collection, an injection is administered so as to stimulate Calcitonin hormone production. After the injection, the laboratory will typically need a number of additional samples of the subject's in a matter of minutes following the injection. This helps the test to better understand how the stimulation of Calcitonin has affected the blood. For instance, in case of the two afore-mentioned disorders, an individual will experience a rather steep increase in the hormone levels as a response to this stimulating test.