What are tumor markers in blood test?

Health is always a thing that is taken for granted. People will only appreciate the gift of health when they actually experience some form of disease or sickness. There are many forms of health problems that affect people of all ages. One of the terrifying forms of disease affecting health greatly is cancer. It is so terrifying that even mentioning the word ‘cancer’ can send shivers down the spine in a split second. There are more than 100 types of cancer that have been identified. 50{a2a46ec55642e682a71e8cca36f3803ecd4bd950ef2bece5716193f567526501} of all cancer cases are actually preventable which means regular health screening should be able to detect it at its early stage. In this article, we will be learning about tumour markers in blood tests that are associated with cancer diagnosis.

          Tumour marker is a substance produced by the body as a response to cancer or certain benign conditions. It has traditionally been proteins or other substances that are produced in higher amounts by the cancer cells than the normal cells. In general, tumour markers can be found in the blood, urine, stool, tumour and other tissue or body fluids of a person with cancer. Tumour markers are also known as biomarkers. Some of these tumour markers are specific to one cancer whereas some may be seen in several types of cancer. Testing for tumour markers in blood tests is usually performed by taking a sample of blood to be analysed in the laboratories.

          There are two main types of tumour markers: tumour tissue markers and circulating tumour markers. Tumour tissue or cell markers are found in the tumour, typically in a sample of tumour obtained from biopsy. Circulating tumour markers are found in blood, urine, stool or other body fluids. Hence, tumour markers in blood test are classified as circulating tumour markers.

          It is true that high tumour marker levels can be a sign of cancer. Tumour marker tests, specifically circulating tumour marker is used for several reasons such as to estimate the prognosis or outcome of the cancer, to determine the stage of cancer, to identify remaining cancer cells after treatment, to identify if the cancer cells have returned after treatment (recurrence), to assess treatment progress and as a monitor to know if a treatment has stopped working or ineffective.

          In reality, circulating tumour markers are not enough to diagnose cancer although elevated levels of this marker may suggest a person with cancer. This is because even noncancerous conditions may lead to an increase of certain tumour markers. Plus, people with a particular type of cancer may not have a higher level of tumour marker to be suspicious with the specific cancer. Some cancers do not produce tumour markers that can be found in the blood test. Thus, circulating tumour markers are usually combined with other results such as from biopsy or imaging test to diagnose cancer.

Example of commonly used tumour marker in blood test includes:

1)    Calcitonin- One of the hormones produced by thyroid but increased of calcitonin level is associated with medullary thyroid cancer. Calcitonin biomarkers are most often used to diagnose medullary thyroid cancer, to know if treatment for the cancer is working, to check for recurrence possibility and to estimate prognosis.

2)    CA 125- Ovarian cancer is the most common cause for elevation of this  biomarker but cancers of the uterus, cervix, breast, lung, liver, pancreas, colon and digestive tract may also raise the level. CA 125 is mainly used to monitor how well treatments for ovarian cancer.

3)    Beta-2 microglobulin- Increased amount of this biomarker in blood could indicate cancer such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma.

4)    Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)- Elevated level of AFP may indicate liver cancer or cancer of ovary/testicle.

5)    Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (Beta-hCG)- May indicate cancer in testis, ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas and lung.

6)    Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)- Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer that elevates this tumour marker.

7)    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)- High level of PSA level may indicate prostate cancer but noncancerous conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis may increase PSA.

          It can be concluded that tumour markers play many roles in cancer. From identifying cancer to the ability to assess the outcome of the cancer, tumour markers make it possible. There are a wide range of tumour markers used to describe the many ranges of cancer types. Commonly used tumour markers as mentioned above are just the small portion of tumour markers available.

          Since tumour markers can be used to predict response of a cancer treatment and for prognosis, researchers hoped that tumour markers could be used as screening tests to detect cancer early on, even before symptoms are exhibited. This can be a great advantage in better management of cancer and can potentially be a means of prevention.

       However, for now, tumour markers may not be suitable for cancer screening due to the low specificity and low sensitivity in detecting cancer. Fret not, many current researches have highlighted other ways to help early cancer detection, providing better effective treatment and to improve accuracy of predicting chance for cancer outcome along with its possible recurrence. It is hoped that in the near future, cancer diseases can be managed well and hopefully lessen patient’s sufferings.

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Best Foods For Your Smile

Daily brushing and flossing are essential to preventing tooth decay and gum disease, but did you know that the foods you eat can also affect oral health? Your diet can help you maintain shinier, healthier, cavity-free pearly whites. Here are several nutrient-rich foods that promote healthy teeth and gums.

This infographic was created by McLean DDS.


Why You Should Start An Exercise Routine

Check with your primary care physician before starting an exercise program, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while and/or have medical conditions. If you do have a medical condition, working out may still be very possible (or even very beneficial), provided you get the proper, professional guidance on what exercises to do and at what intensity to do them. For more information, continue reading below.

Graphic created by Apogee Fitness, a fitness studio in Mokena.


The Art of Pipe Smoking: A Guide to Pipe Etiquette

Pipe smoking is a timeless and cherished tradition enjoyed by many. The art of pipe smoking goes beyond just packing a bowl and lighting up. There are certain rules of etiquette to follow that not only enhance your own experience but also show respect to others around you. In this article, we’ll provide a guide to pipe smoking etiquette that will help you become a true connoisseur.

First and foremost, always ask for permission before lighting up in public or in someone else’s home. While smoking is a personal choice, it’s important to be considerate of those around you who may not enjoy the smell of smoke. When in doubt, it’s best to step outside or find a designated smoking area.

When packing your pipe, take your time and do it right. Use a pipe tool to lightly pack the tobacco and make sure it’s evenly distributed. Avoid overpacking your pipe as this can lead to difficult draws and an unpleasant smoking experience.

Once your pipe is packed, it’s time to light up. Use a lighter or matches to ignite the tobacco, being careful not to char the rim of the pipe. Slowly puff on the pipe while gently tamping down the ash as needed. It’s important to not take too many puffs in a row as this can lead to a hot bowl and a harsh taste.

As you smoke your pipe, hold it with a relaxed grip and avoid clenching it in your teeth. This can cause damage to both your pipe and your teeth. Instead, hold it gently between your fingers or rest it in a pipe stand.

When you’re finished smoking, don’t just flick the ash off your pipe. Gently tap the bowl against a pipe ashtray to remove the ash, and use a pipe tool to scrape out any remaining tobacco. Let the pipe cool down completely before storing it away.

Properly cleaning your pipe is also an important part of pipe smoking etiquette. After each use, remove any leftover tobacco and ash from the bowl and stem. Use a pipe cleaner to remove any buildup and a soft cloth to wipe down the outside of the pipe. It’s also a good idea to periodically deep clean your pipe with pipe sweetener or alcohol to remove any lingering odors.

In conclusion, pipe smoking etiquette is all about being respectful to those around you and taking care of your pipe. By following these guidelines, you can become a true pipe smoking connoisseur and enjoy this timeless tradition to its fullest.


There are several arguments in favour of societal efforts to improve women’s health

Without a question, women are the backbone of our civilization. Their influence may be felt across many fields, even those that have historically been dominated by males. Unfortunately, many people are still affected by widespread discrimination and unfair treatment. Their mental and physical health are worsening as a direct result of this, partly due to the insufficient care provided by their respective governments. We should be grateful that more and more people are raising their voices in defence of women’s rights and the autonomy of the female body. Society has finally realised that if women are denied healthcare, civilisation may crumble. Efforts to improve women’s health are warranted for a number of reasons.

 Reducing the Number of New STD Cases

Women who engage in sexual activity without protection greatly increase their chances of developing a life-threatening illness. A lot of people don’t get the schooling they need to be healthy.

Hepatitis C and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are two of the most common viruses that may be passed along via blood and other body fluids. While there are measures that may be taken to lessen the likelihood of infection, women are best served by limiting their sexual partners to those who have recently been tested.

Furthermore, domestic violence cases should be taken more seriously, and trafficking is a real threat that many women face. Although prevention is always preferable than cure, it might be challenging to stop the spread of highly infectious diseases or eliminate all trafficking-related criminal activities. That’s why it’s so important to normalise STD treatment, for the sake of both the patients who require it and the individuals who could come into touch with them. At the same time, we must focus on empowering women and girls by teaching them to identify and avoid risks to their safety, such as child labour in the sex industry and human trafficking.

Growing Economic Activity

Women are a nation’s most precious resource, thus improving their health is essential to boosting the economy as a whole. Women are now more powerful than ever before in a wide range of professions, and evidence suggests women may be even more skilled than their male counterparts in several fields. If the health of working women continues to deteriorate, it will have an adverse effect on the economy. That’s why it’s so important that women take care of their health so they have the energy they need to perform in professional settings while still having the energy to enjoy all other parts of their lives. In addition to a healthy diet and consistent exercise, using supplements like Le-Vel Thrive can help sustain women’s health and energy levels. Learning more about what is Thrive and what are other potential supplements to help could save women’s careers.

Having more confidence in oneself is a great way to get more done

The popularity of plastic surgery and other forms of cosmetic surgery has grown with the development of new medical technologies. It’s worth noting that there has been a corresponding boost in production as a whole as a result of this. Several studies have shown that when women have cosmetic surgery, they gain confidence, which in turn boosts their productivity. Therefore, the doctors at stress the need of normalising cosmetic procedures like body sculpting and varicose vein removal.