There are a variety of tests used to detect cancer. These are the most common and have to be combined with other tests for your doctor to make an accurate assessment. There are factors that can give inaccurate results so, before a final diagnosis is made your doctor has to run other tests.
- Complete blood count (CBC). This common blood test measures the amount of various types of blood cells in a sample of your blood. Blood cancers may be detected using this test if too many or too few of a type of blood cell or abnormal cells are found. A bone marrow biopsy may help confirm a diagnosis of a blood cancer.
- Urine cytology. Examining a urine sample under a microscope may reveal cancer cells that could come from the bladder, ureters or kidneys.
- Blood protein testing. A test to examine various proteins in your blood (electrophoresis) can aid in detecting certain abnormal immune system proteins (immunoglobulins) that are sometimes elevated in people with multiple myeloma. Other tests, such as a bone marrow biopsy, are used to confirm a suspected diagnosis.
- Tumor marker tests. Tumor markers are chemicals made by tumor cells that can be detected in your blood. But tumor makers are also produced by some normal cells in your body and levels may be significantly elevated in noncancerous conditions. This limits the potential for tumor marker tests to help in diagnosing cancer.
The best ways to use tumor markers in diagnosing cancer hasn't been determined. And the use of some tumor marker tests is controversial. Examples of tumor markers include prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer, cancer antigen 125 (CA 125) for ovarian cancer, calcitonin for medullary thyroid cancer, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) for liver cancer and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) for germ cell tumors, such as testicular cancer and ovarian cancer.
If you find out you have cancer don't give up hope. Hope generates possibilities beyond what you can believe, your body and cells will feel the positive thoughts. Thoughts are a powerful source of energy which your body will need.