Testicular cancer has a unique feature. Some testicular cancers secrete or release markers into the bloodstream. A marker is a protein that's normally found at very low levels in the bloodstream, or perhaps not at all. That's exclusively released by a cancer. It can be a very valuable feature because it allows doctors to tell just with a blood test how treatment is going and whether the cancer has returned. It's not a feature associated with many cancers, but it is with testicular cancer. The two main tumor markers are called alpha fetoprotein and beta HCG. A less commonly used, but still checked, tumor marker is called lactate dehydrogenase, but it's less specific. These tumor markers can sometimes direct the treatment algorithm and allow the doctors to determine if the treatment has been successful.
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