Cancer is a life threatening condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a condition where a part of the body is affected by tumor cells. These tumor cells form into a mass which begins to affect the proper functioning of the body parts and organs in the area. As the cancer spreads, it attacks the healthy cells in the area, grows out of control and begins to spread across the body in a process known as metastasis. Cancer threatens the life of an individual because it attacks the healthy functioning cells of various organs of the body and renders them useless. This means that one or many of the body’s organs stop functioning and the effect of this lack of functioning is rather catastrophic. A cancer is identified by the area in which it first appears. This identification is usually based on the organ that the cancer is affecting.
Cancer tests are varied based on the various different symptoms that occur. A common method of cancer testing is imaging based.
This uses MR or CT scanning which are done in the area where a tumor may be suspected. These scans use various frequency signals which pass through the body based on the thickness of the body tissue. In an area with a tumor, the tissue thickness is likely to produce a certain amount of opacity which will be visible on an image. This visual image is then analyzed. If an abnormal mass is located, it may be probed in order to get a biopsy sample which will be used to test for cancer. Another test for cancer is to test the blood of an individual. There is an antigen known as the CEA or Carcinoembryonic Antigen which tends to be elevated when a person is suffering from cancer. This is particularly elevated with cancers that may affect the digestive system like bowel or colon cancer. Other factors in a person’s blood may be tested in order to establish the presence of an abnormal mass in the body.
Another approach on how to test for cancer is based on each particular type of cancer. This is sometimes the primary stage of cancer testing. When an organ is affected by cancer, the normal functioning of that organ may be affected. When such symptoms are noted a further test using invasive probing or imaging may be ordered. Unfortunately, symptom based testing often results in a cancer diagnosis at a stage that is beyond the initial stage of the disease. This means that treatment becomes more complicated.