Tumour Marker Screening

What are tumour markers?

When you have cancer, some patients will have tumour markers (substances) present in their urine, blood, stools, other bodily fluids or tissues.


What is tumour marker screening?

Tumour markers can be used in medical tests and investigations to help to diagnose cancer, to predict the patient’s response to some cancer therapies, to check the response of the patient to treatment or to determine whether the cancer has returned.


Cancer care and tumour markers

Tumour markers are used to help to manage, to detect and then diagnose some types of cancer. An increased level of a tumour marker might suggest the presence of cancer. Yet, this is not enough to confirm a cancer diagnosis. In order to diagnose cancer, the measurements for the tumour markers are usually combined with additional tests such as biopsies.


Tumour markers

The tumour markers that are most commonly used include:

  • CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) for colorectal cancer and breast cancer
  • AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) for liver cancer and some tumours
  • Ca125 for ovarian cancer
  • PSA (prostate-specific antigen) for prostate cancer
  • BrCa for breast cancer and ovarian cancer


How are tumour markers measured?

Your IPSA doctor will take a sample of the tumour tissue or of a bodily fluid. Your IPSA physician sends this to a laboratory where tumour marker screening methods are used that measure the level of the tumour marker.


At the IPSA clinic

Based on the findings of your examination, your family history and in-depth clinical history, the relevant tumour marker tests will be requested by your IPSA physician. These tumour marker results can take up to 48 hours to come back and your IPSA doctor will fully discuss all of the results with you. If there are any abnormalities, then you will be fully guided towards the next step of your investigation/referral process. Your IPSA physician will be available 7 days a week to talk to you if you have any further queries regarding your results or the outcome of your tumour marker consultation.
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