U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A 49-year-old member asked:

will you determine if someone has cancer through a blood test?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Holtz
Gynecologic Oncology 23 years experience
No: No. First, cancer is not one disease. There are may different cancers for every part of the body. Second, all of the blood tumor markers we have are very non-specific; many other conditions besides cancer can falsely elevate them. Talk to your doctor about any symptoms that you are concerned about.

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Personalized answers
Free
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits
$15 per month

Similar questions

LA
A 39-year-old member asked:

Can a blood test detect cancer?

4 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Family Medicine 31 years experience
Only a few cancers: Unfortunately, there are very few cancers that can be detected through blood tests. These include prostate cancer and leukemia. Some other cancers have tumor marker tests, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and others but these are to monitor, not detect the cancer.
Dr. Michael Thompson
Hematology and Oncology 20 years experience
I would add that germ cell tumors (eg testicular cancer) and liver cancer (Hepatocellular carcinoma - HCC) can be diagnosed by blood tests. However, they are usually confirmed (in more recent years) by biopsy. Some "tumor markers" may be non-specific or may correlate with cancer growth, but still be challenging to know how to use for patient care.
Dec 16, 2011
A 36-year-old member asked:

I heard that a blood test can actually detect certain cancers. Which ones are detectable?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
Not applicable: There is no reliable blood test to detect cancer in general or a specific cancer.
Dr. Joseph Woods
Pathology 28 years experience
Tumor markers can help with cancer diagnosis, but have different degrees of reliability, and vary with respect to the cancer type.
Jun 28, 2012
Lincoln Park, MI
A 43-year-old male asked:

Is there a blood test to r/o cancer

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Rubenstein
Hematology and Oncology 45 years experience
No.: There is no one blood test that screens for all cancers. There are specific tests that can be used to monitor disease status in particular diagnoses such as psa for prostate cancer, ca125 for ovarian cancer or CEA for colon cancer, but these tests are not so good for screening a general population. The concern with them is either lack of specificty or detection of lesions that are not risky.
A 42-year-old member asked:

Is there a blood test that can indicate if someone has cancer?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Carlo Contreras
A Verified Doctor answered
A US doctor answered Learn more
Yes: Yes, but it is not that straightforward. It is most appropriately used when you know somebody has cancer, the cancer has been treated, and you are looking for regrowth of the cancer. Using the tests any other way can be very misleading. It also depends on what kind of cancer you have (ldh, afp, thyroglobulin, cea, ca19-9, ca 125, and chromogranin are all examples).
A 44-year-old member asked:

Can there be any other way of finding out if I have cancer, blood test maybe?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Muaiad Kittaneh
Addiction Medicine 20 years experience
No: There is not a single blood test that can detect solid organ malignancy (pancreatic, breast, lung...Etc) with certainty. The exception to this role is hematologic malignancies (leukemia/lymphoma). There are several blood tests that we use to look for surrogates of cancer that include what we call tumor markers but those are complimentary and for monitoring disease status rather than diagnosis.

Related questions

A 36-year-old member asked:
2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
A 48-year-old member asked:
2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
A 41-year-old member asked:
1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
A 33-year-old member asked:
2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
A 37-year-old member asked:
1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Personalized answers
Free
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits
$15 per month
Last updated Apr 18, 2013
Connect with a U.S. board-certified doctor by text or video anytime, anywhere.
24/7 visits
$15 per month

Disclaimer:

Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.