What tests can be done to diagnose cancer early?

1 answer | Last updated: May 30, 2012
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father recently died of esophageal, stomach and liver cancer. He was also a controlled diabetic. Is there any kind of test for this cancer that can be done before you get it to catch it before it is too late? My dad did not appear to be sick and then one day he had severe pain in his throat and had difficulty swallowing. This type of cancer took the lives of three of his other siblings so I am concerned. I am 56 and also diabetic, another disease that ran rampant in my father's family. Thank you

Expert Answers

Linda Ackerman, R.N. has clinical experience in oncology, women's health, and medical nursing. She has been practicing for more than 20 years and is a licensed registered nurse in both Florida and Wisconsin. In addition, she serves as a board member of Breast Cancer Recovery and the Wisconsin Cancer Council.

Based on your description of your family history, you may benefit by arranging an appt to see a certified genetic counselor. Genetic counselors provide information, education and support to individuals who may have a genetic condition or may be at risk for developing a condition. A certified genetic counselor will be able to review and discuss the details of your personal family history and offer recommendations on the exact tests that may be available for you. The U.S. National Cancer Institute provides an up to date guide explaining genetic testing, counselors and offers a directory to help find a professional who provides services related to cancer genetic risks, counseling and testing.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more information about genetics at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/prevention-genetics-causes/genetics

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