Note: PSA = SERUM / plasma TEST only, AFP + CEA = BLOOD TEST
You need to be able to separate SERUM / plasma from blood, to perform PSA test. (see last few pictures)
What Is an Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) ?
An alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test is a blood test that measures the amount of AFP present in blood. High levels of AFP in adults, indicate certain types of liver disease. An AFP test can help to diagnose and monitor certain liver conditions, such as liver cancer, cirrhosis, and hepatitis
Uses of alpha-fetoprotein measurement
1. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) / Liver Cancer
Chronic hepatitis B and C infection may cause HCC. AFP can be measured at six-monthly intervals in such patients who are at high risk of HCC (especially those with liver cirrhosis related to hepatitis B or C).
2. Acute liver failure
The concentrations of AFP that are variably elevated during liver injury, have been suggested to be of prognostic importance in acute liver failure, with higher values being associated with improved outcome. AFP values change dynamically during acute liver failure.
What Do the Test Results Mean?
The normal amount of AFP is usually less than 40 micrograms per liter of blood. If your AFP level is unusually high, it may indicate the presence of certain cancers or liver diseases.
What Is Carcino embryonic antigen (CEA)?
A carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test is a blood test used to help diagnose and manage certain types of cancers, especially cancers of the large intestine and rectum. This test can also be used to help determine if a cancer treatment is working.
An antigen is a harmful substance (usually proteins) that’s released by a cancerous tumor. In response to the antigens, the body produces antibodies to help fight them. The CEA test measures the amount of CEA antigens in the blood. A high amount of CEA in your body after a cancer treatment or surgery suggests that the cancer has not gone away. It may also mean that the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
Why Do I Need an Carcino embryonic Test?
The CEA test can be used for different reasons.
#symptoms suggest that paitent might have cancer.
#find out if a cancer treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of all three, is working.
#help determine if a cancer has come back, or recurred, after treatment is finished.
CEA test is most useful with a type of cancer that’s known to produce CEA. Increased levels of CEA may be found in the following cancers:
#colorectal or colon cancer
#medullary thyroid carcinom
#cancer of the gastrointestinal tract
What does the test result mean?
The concentration of CEA in the blood does not accurately reflect tumour size, however on initial testing, patients with smaller and early-stage tumours are likely to have low CEA concentrations.
Patients with more advanced tumours, or tumours that have spread throughout the body, are likely to have initially high CEA concentrations.
The patient performs the test repeatedly before, during, and after treatment to assess changes over time. When CEA decreases to "normal" concentrations after therapy, it means that the CEA-producing tumour has been removed. A steadily rising CEA result may be the first sign that the cancer has returned.
What is Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) ?
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a glycoprotein that is produced by the prostate gland, the lining of the urethra, and the bulbourethral gland. Normally, very little PSA is secreted in the blood. Increases in glandular size and tissue damage caused by benign prostatic hypertrophy, prostatitis, or prostate cancer may increase circulating PSA levels.
In patients with previously diagnosed prostate cancer, PSA testing is advocated as an early indicator of tumor recurrence and as an indicator of response to therapy. The role of PSA in early detection of prostate cancer is controversial.
The level of PSA in the SERUM is the best method currently available for detecting localised prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect men. One in eight men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.
Prostate cancer is a disease where some prostate cells have lost normal control of growth and division. They no longer function as healthy cells.
A cancerous prostate cell has the following features:
• Uncontrolled growth
• Abnormal structure
• The ability to move to other parts of the body (invasiveness).
Prostate cancer can be slow-growing and some men who develop prostate cancer may live many years without ever having the cancer detected. It is important to get screened regularly so that if you do develop prostate cancer, the appropriate action can be taken. A significant proportion of prostate cancers, if untreated, may have serious consequences.
Signs and Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer may include:
#Urgent need to urinate
#Frequent urination, especially at night
#Burning or pain when urinating
#Inability to urinate or difficulty starting or stopping urine flow
#Blood in the urine or semen
Symptoms are not always present especially in the early stages of prostate cancer. If detected and treated in its earliest stages (when cells are only in the prostate), your chances of survival are greatly increased. Early detection is a key
Am I at risk of prostate cancer?
While any man can develop prostate cancer, you may be at a high risk if you are…
#Over 50: Age is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. Your risk increases starting at age 50, and most cases are diagnosed in men over age 65. Prostate Cancer Canada recommends that men in their 40s get a PSA test to establish their baseline. If you think you are at increased risk, talk to your doctor before age 40.
#Have a family history of prostate cancer: Your risk is higher if a first-degree relative (father or brother) has had prostate cancer. Your risk increases with each additional first-degree relative who has the disease.
#African or Caribbean: Prostate cancer is more common among men in these ethnic groups. (Men of Asian descent have lower risk.)
#Overweight: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk. Regular exercise and a nutritious diet are important to overall well-being.
#Do not have a healthy diet: Men who eat a low-fibre, high-fat diet are more likely to develop prostate cancer. Saturated fats may increase testosterone production and promote the growth of prostate cancer cells.
PSA is a protein produced by both normal and cancerous prostate cells. A high level of PSA can be a sign of cancer. PSA is usually measured in nanograms per millilitre of blood (ng/ml). A reading higher than 10 ng/ml may also be caused by benign prostate disease, but the higher the level of PSA, the more likely it is to be cancer.
PSA tests are also used to monitor how well prostate cancer treatment works or to decide whether you need treatment. If your PSA is stable, it is a sign that a cancer is not growing or spreading. Successful treatment shrinks cancer and so the PSA level in the blood then falls.