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Is there a general blood test to detect cancer?. I just had a CBC w/Diff plus Electrolytes and BMP (Basic Metabolic Profile) and it all came back normal. If I had cancer (even in the early stages) would it have shown up in some way (ie; some "warning sign") that would have told the doctors that further tests were needed?.

I have read that there are various (specific) tests that I can ask for but I forgot what they were now. What should I ask for when I see my GP again?. I have had lymph nodes swell behind my left ear, in front of my left ear, under the left part of my jaw, left portion of my neck, etc off and on for years now. It always happens on the left so something is definately going on there and yet I've had many tests and everything always comes back normal.[/QUOTE]
Depending on whether or not you are a male or female, there is the PSA(males), CEA males or females, CA125(females) LDH and Alkaline Phospatase tests. The first three are tumor markers and are not reliable except to monitor a known tumor. The PSA will alert the presence of cancer in males.
There is a bone marrow biopsy that is truly painful for some, it will reveal problems at the bone level in terms of manufacture of defective blood cells. A biopsy of the swollen lymph node you are referring to will reveal whether or not there is anything malignant going on in your neck. However, if you have ever had a virus, you could have had a swollen lymph node to occur. If you have a bad tooth or have had a root canal done, that will cause lymph nodes in that area to enlarge due to the tinkering of needles and novocaine etc. If you have ever had a cat scratch you, your body may have had a minor reaction to the gland secretions in the cats claw area(where cats leave their scent for other cats.) Lymph nodes swell if you even have an exposure to a virus, it is the way that your immune system fights disease. The left side is likely to swell due to the fact that the spleen is on that side and a major emptying lymph channel where your body cleans itself up is also in the region.( all of this is normal)

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