What Are the Different Types of Cancer Detection Tests?

Jennifer Long
Jennifer Long
A mammogram may be used to determine breast density.
A mammogram may be used to determine breast density.

Several types of cancer detection tests are available to help doctors confirm the presence of cancer and solidify a cancer diagnosis. Laboratory cancer tests include cancer marker tests, biological terrain assessment (BTA), anti-maligin antibody screen (AMAS), and a DR-70 test. Imaging tests, such as mammograms and computer topography (CT) scans, can also be used to detect cancer. In many instances, doctors will use multiple tests to determine which type of cancer a patient has.

Blood testing is a mandatory step in most cancer screenings.
Blood testing is a mandatory step in most cancer screenings.

Cancer marker tests rely on specific markers to detect the presence of cancer. Specific immunological markers, such as alpha fetoprotein and CA125, are produced by the body as cancer cells grow. This test can show cancer exists before a malignancy can be detected by other tests. It is one of the cancer detection tests that are used for early detection when a cancer or carcinoma is in its infantile stages.

CT scans can be helpful for detecting certain types of cancers.
CT scans can be helpful for detecting certain types of cancers.

BTA uses a computer-based device to measure minerals, pH balance, and electron levels in the patient's saliva, blood, and urine. These three components help doctors see the health of cells. If the acid content is too high, there is a lack of electrons or not enough minerals, and there is a chance that there is cancer present. A BTA test often paves the way for other tests that will help determine what type of cancer may be present.

AMAS is another one of the early cancer detection tests. It measures the levels of a specific antibody called anti-malignin. Research has shown that people in early stages of cancer have higher levels of this antibody. It cannot be effectively used in later stages because anti-malignin antibodies may have already been depleted.

Most cancer detection tests will include blood tests, such as the DR-70 test. With this test, the blood is tested for 13 forms of cancer all at once. In many cases, the test detects the presence of cancer cells before symptoms begin to occur or tumors appear. When doctors are performing any number of other screening tests, the DR-70 is usually included.

Mammograms are x-rays of the breast for both men and women. Screening mammograms are cancer detection tests that are used to determine if abnormal breast tissue or masses are present. Diagnostic mammograms are used if abnormalities have appeared in a screening. When an abnormality in one of the two images from the screening appears, the diagnostic mammogram concentrates on that specific abnormality and the immediate surrounding area, providing a more in-depth view.

A CT scan is another type of cancer detection test. This test x-rays the whole body and can be used as a screening or diagnostic aid. The results can show the presence of tumors and provide doctors with information about tumors, such as the size and if it has spread to other locations. In some cases, CT scans can be used to help aid in a biopsy procedure.

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    • A mammogram may be used to determine breast density.
      A mammogram may be used to determine breast density.
    • Blood testing is a mandatory step in most cancer screenings.
      Blood testing is a mandatory step in most cancer screenings.
    • CT scans can be helpful for detecting certain types of cancers.
      CT scans can be helpful for detecting certain types of cancers.