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Which test detects cancer in the body? Are there tests for individual organs?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1993
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hi Doctor,

i would like to know which test can be taken to detect any cancer in the body?
are they individual tests to be done for individual organs or any specific 1 test that can detect all kinds of cancer?
Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Shainaz Arif Kaware 3 hours later
Thanks for writing in.
There is no single test done to diagnose cancer in the body. Rather, several tests are available which can detect cancer in individual organs. Further, different screening tests are done in different age groups in order to detect the most common cancers. For example, a colonoscopy is recommended annually in all people above the age of 50 years to detect colon cancer.
Different tests that are available include:
1.     The Cancer Marker Tests are immunological methods of testing increased blood levels that are produced as cancer grows and are detectable at early stage. These include
a)     Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) levels are often elevated in liver cancers,cancer of testes and some gastrointestinal cancers,
b)     CA125 is the most widely used tumor marker for cancers of the reproductive system including the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries cancer of the pancreas, lungs, breast and colon,
c)     Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a cancer marker to screen for colorectal cancer thyroid cancer,
d)     PSA for prostate cancer
2.     FNAC or Biopsy of a tumor-a small piece extracted for getting tested for the histopathology gives diagnosis of the type of cancer,
3.     leukemia,
4.     Chest x-ray for chest tumors,
5.     Complete blood count (CBC)-for leukaemia,
6.     CT and MRI scan of the particular part or suspected part of body,
7.     Pap smear in females for cervical cancer,
8.     Mammography for breast cancer.

The test done will depend on the symptoms.
Hope you find this answer helpful.
Take care.

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