The Importance of Cancer Testing Using Tumor Markers
Tumor markers are substances, often proteins, that are produced by the cancer tissue itself or sometimes by the body in response to cancer growth.
Because some of these substances can be detected in body samples such as blood, urine, and tissue, these markers may be used, along with other tests and procedures, to help detect and diagnose some types of cancer, predict and monitor a person’s response to certain treatments, and detect recurrence. More recently, the idea of what constitutes a tumor marker has broadened. Newer types of tests have been developed that look for changes in patient’s genetic material (DNA, RNA), rather than proteins. Samples are obtain either by blood or saliva.