Advancements in Cancer Screening Tests

Cancer & Caregiving
Reading Time: 3 mins
Publication Date: 06/18/2012
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us

Testimonials

"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Lashawn
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article

APA

Leer, B. (2020, October 16). Advancements in Cancer Screening Tests. Asbestos.com. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2012/06/18/advancements-cancer-screening-tests/

MLA

Leer, Ben. "Advancements in Cancer Screening Tests." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2012/06/18/advancements-cancer-screening-tests/.

Chicago

Leer, Ben. "Advancements in Cancer Screening Tests." Asbestos.com. Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2012/06/18/advancements-cancer-screening-tests/.

Cancer screenings are a strong initiative in our nation. One of the primary goals for medical researchers is to develop tests that can detect cancer in its earliest stages.

Outside of traditional X-rays, early detection is sometimes accomplished through the discovery of specific antigens, also known as tumor markers.

Diagnosing cancer in its early stage of development significantly helps prognosis and usually opens the door to more treatment options. This is especially true for mesothelioma, a cancer that develops quickly and carries a poor prognosis.

Your doctor may prescribe one of the following tests to check for tumor markers:

  • Urine
  • Blood
  • Bone marrow
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Tumor tissue

Indicators that your body isn’t functioning properly can come from the presence of antigens and antibodies. But what are they, and how do they function?

Antigens vs. Antibodies

An antigen is a molecule or molecular piece in the body that is responsible for developing antibodies, which are produced to fight disease. (Antigen stems from the term antibody generator.)

The most common antigens come from bacteria and virus cells. If the immune system recognizes antigens as harmful, the body naturally will produce antibodies to fight off these antigens.

Antigen antibody

Because tumor cells develop from inside our bodies, our immune system does not recognize them easily as an invading bacteria or virus cell. However, these tumors can still produce abnormal proteins that doctors use as tumor markers.

These markers can be detected at abnormally high levels when cancer is present. For a mesothelioma tumor antigen, the identification of specific tumor markers is one of the earliest signs of the cancer. Tests that have been developed to detect mesothelioma tumor markers include the Mesomark test and the miRview Meso test.

Antibodies are used by the immune system to locate and destroy internal threats. They are Y-shaped proteins that attach to antigens in an effort to eliminate them from the body.  While tumor cells are creating antigens, the body is producing antibodies to attack them.

Research That Will Increase the Accuracy of Tumor Markers

The Anti-Malignan Antibody (AMAS) Test is a unique test that detects the presence of antibodies. Its biggest advantage is detecting cancer at an early stage of development. However, if you have a later stage of cancer, this test is less effective. The AMAS test is also limited because it cannot determine what kind of cancer you have.

Researchers are continuing to look into the structure of proteins to better understand their functionality with cancer. The main goal is to predict the effectiveness of treatment and cancer recurrence.

The Program for the Assessment of Clinical Cancer Tests (PACCT) is a current initiative that’s working to develop better infrastructure in laboratories. The purpose of this program is to create more effective tests in cancer screening, monitoring and diagnosis.

Have you received a cancer screening? Which method was used? Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Get Access to Free Resources for Patients & Loved Ones
Free Mesothelioma Resources