Tumor markers

A tumor is a lump-like growth of mutated cells in the body, which can be benign or malignant. Malignant tumors are generally called “cancers. When cancer forms in the body, depending on the type of cancer, a special substance that is rarely seen in healthy individuals is produced and may appear in the blood. This substance that appears in the blood is called a “tumor marker. The “tumor marker test” is a test to check for these tumor markers.

When cancer occurs in the body, the values of tumor markers, which should not normally change, become abnormal. However, a high tumor marker result does not mean that the patient has cancer. It is considered to be only one factor for judgment. Tumor markers are not necessarily elevated in cancer (malignant tumor), but can also be elevated in benign tumors, inflammatory diseases such as pancreatitis, cholecystitis, cholangitis, cholelithiasis, hepatitis, diabetes, bronchitis, bronchiectasis, endometriosis, and other non-cancer diseases. In other words, it is not a substance that is produced only in cancer, but can also be elevated in non-cancer diseases. In addition, even if it is cancer, it is not possible to determine in which organ the cancer is located. Therefore, tumor markers are generally used as an adjunct to testing and to determine the effectiveness of treatment.

Tumor marker tests can be performed by drawing blood only, so they are easy to perform with little burden on the body. If necessary, it can be combined with other tests such as CT scan or endoscopy for early detection of cancer.