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Tumor Markers

Even without suffering cancerophobia (pathological fear of cancer), sooner or later comes to mind thought a blood test for tumor markers to be checked. Should I do it "just in case"? And what will this analysis?

Tumor markers - substances of protein nature, which are produced by cancer cells. For different tumor diseases set of "tags" are different. In medicine used extensively around 20 tumor markers.

It can be said that the boom of tumor markers walked us by. In the late 80's, when all Europe hard donate blood while on exotic figures, our people more worried about what to buy for dinner. The second wave of interest in oncomarkers coincided with the default, and also caused a public outcry. But today the definition of tumor markers is becoming more casual analysis. "You can give blood for tumor markers and be sure that is not sick?" - Ask patients. "You can put money in the bank and be sure that it is not burned?" - The doctors say in response. In fact, tumor markers are important and necessary, but the approach to the analysis and interpretation of the appointment must be properly.


The most eminent tumor marker - PSA, an early precursor to prostate cancer. It is so easy to identify and so precise that has long been a screening method of research - that is, every man over 40 should be once a year to take a blood test for PSA.

With a significant increase in the indicator of prostate cancer diagnosis does not require other evidence (ultrasound, CT scan, biopsy). If the index is moderately elevated, should be tested for a more detailed "free PSA", so the total PSA and sometimes increases in benign diseases such as BPH, prostatitis, and even after massaging the prostate gland. Among all the tumor markers PSA firmly holds the first place, and we get "gold".


Deserved second place is shared by HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), alpha-fetoprotein and tumor marker Ca 125. Joint rise of the first two are likely talking about testicular cancer in men and the second rise - of ovarian cancer in women. However, it is fair to say that the increase in Ca-125 can be detected in benign tumors of the ovary, and even in healthy women.


Other tumor markers for screening do not apply, and take them "to check" does not make sense. But they are very important for doctors, so deservedly receive the bronze. Such analyzes should take in a particular situation: for example in cases of suspected tumor as one of the stages of diagnosis. In this case, the significance of tumor markers is really great.

Equally important role played by tumor markers in monitoring disease after treatment: reducing the concentration of tumor marker in the blood indicates a positive result of treatment, and a second increase - by a relapse of the disease. Regular monitoring of the levels of specific tumor markers allows time to discover Returning disease and start treatment quickly.

On the question remains - answers

Is it possible to detect tumor markers in the blood of a healthy person?

Of course. They certainly present there. It is true in a small concentration, so for each tumor marker is the threshold value. But even if some of the elevated tumor markers, it does not necessarily mean the development of cancer. Sometimes tumor markers increase with the development of cysts, benign tumors, infectious diseases and even after the common cold.

How shall analysis for tumor markers?

Most often, analysis, blood is taken from a vein, it should be done in the morning and on an empty stomach. Sometimes we use the definition of tumor markers in the urine. The analysis can be ready in a few hours.

Can you call early diagnosis of tumor markers panacea?

The number of lives that have been saved because of this tumor markers is very high. The rest are used in the survey indicated. Make them just to be checked - a waste of money and nerves