Cancer markers are substances, usually proteins, hormones, enzymes, receptors, and other cellular products that are produced by the body in response to cancer growth. These substances are found in the blood and can also be present in the tissue or the cancer itself. Tumour markers are mostly made by normal cells as well as by cancer cells. However, the effect is more when it is produced by the cancer cells. One can find such substances in the blood, urine, stool, tumour tissue, or other tissues. With the help of modern science recently, patterns of gene expression and changes to DNA have also begun to be used as tumour markers.
There is no “universal” tumour marker that can detect any type of cancer and there are as many as 20 cancer markers recognised for clinical use. The majority of tumours are used to check on patients for recurrence of cancer after the treatment. Here is a list of a few cancer makers:
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