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Tumor markers are substances that can be found in the blood, urine, stool, tumor tissue, other tissues or bodily fluids of some patients with cancer. Most tumor markers are made by normal cells as well as by cancer cells; however, they are produced at much higher levels in cancerous conditions.

There are some limitations to the use of tumor markers. Sometimes, noncancerous conditions can cause the levels of certain tumor markers to increase. In addition, not everyone with a particular type of cancer will have a higher level of a tumor marker associated with that cancer. Moreover, tumor markers have not been identified for every type of cancer.

The types of tumour markers that are commonly tested:

Alpha-fetoprotein(AFP)
– Cancer types: Liver cancer and germ cell tumors
– Tissue analyzed: Blood

Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin(Beta-hCG)
– Cancer types: Choriocarcinoma and germ cell tumors
– Tissue analyzed: Urine or blood

CA19-9
– Cancer types: Pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, bile duct cancer, and gastric cancer
– Tissue analyzed: Blood

CA-125
– Cancer type: Ovarian cancer
– Tissue analyzed: Blood

Carcinoembryonic antigen(CEA)
– Cancer types: Colorectal cancer and some other cancers
– Tissue analyzed: Blood

Prostate-specific antigen(PSA)
– Cancer type: Prostate cancer
– Tissue analyzed: Blood

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