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Understanding Cancer Biomarkers

You may have heard your doctor talk about testing for certain biomarkers in your body. What are biomarkers, and how are they related to your treatment?

Cancer biomarkers are molecules that can be found in your blood or in the tumor. They may be genes or proteins produced by those genes. There are many kinds of biomarkers, and they can help reveal different things about your health.

Learn About Cancer Biomarkers
Learn About Cancer Biomarkers

What can be learned from biomarkers?

Doctors often test for biomarkers in your body to help determine

  • What kind of cancer you may have
  • What type of treatment may be right for you
  • How well a treatment is working

There are several tests your doctor can run to help determine if you have a biomarker. Not all types of cancer have biomarkers that help with treatment, so check with your doctor to see if you are a candidate for these tests.

Questions you might want to ask your doctor

  • Have you done a biomarker test, and if so, what biomarker(s) did you use to diagnose the kind of cancer I have?
  • What does this biomarker mean for my treatment?
  • What biomarker(s) would let me know how well treatment is going?
  • Could I pass a biomarker on to my children that would put them at risk for cancer?