Diagnosis of unknown primary cancer

Diagnosis of unknown primary cancer involves various test and techniques. The complete introduction of unknown primary cancer is available here. What is Unknown Primary Cancer?

Family and Medical History of Patient:

The doctors ask various questions about the past illness, medicine used surgeries etc so that they came to know about the causes of unknown primary cancer.  The patient should inform the doctors everything like his smoking habit , diet, physical activity etc as  the information and detail of these things make the diagnostic process quite easy.   The patient must share the detail of his family history as it serves as a clue for the doctor.

Physical examination:

In this, the doctor completely examined the entire body of patient and this may include the examination of lymph nodes, pelvis, breasts, rectum, and genitals.

Blood and urine tests:

These test are performed to determine the level of certain markers and proteins in the blood and urine. For example the high level of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the indicator of neck lymph nodes cancer.


With the mean of an x-ray is a clear cut  picture of the inside of the body is taken. Normally chest x-ray is performed to check whether cancerous cells are spread to  the lungs or not.

Other Imaging test that are performed during Unknown Primary cancer diagnosis are

  • CAT / CT scan (Computed Tomography)
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan


In this test an endscope that is a thin flexible lighted tube is inserted into the stomach by the way of mouth esophagus and this process is named as endoscopy.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test:

This is a test of special protein i.e.  Prostate-specific antigen . it is a protein that is released by  prostate tissue. The elevated level of this protein means there is an abnormal activity in the prostate and that is an indication of prostate cancer. The men who are feeling bone pain will lead to PSA and the higher level of it  increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.


The women may undergone through this test that is an x-ray of breast in case of cancer  in the axillary lymph nodes and sometimes this is suggested when other areas metastatic breast cancer is suspected.

Filed Under: Unknown Primary Cancer

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