Can a common blood test spot cancer in general? Or is it necessary to take some specific tests for each kind of cancer?
Thus far, more than 20 different tumor markers have been characterized and are in clinical use... There is no “universal” tumor marker that can detect any type of cancer.
[L]imitations to the use of tumor markers[:] ...noncancerous conditions can cause the levels of certain tumor markers to increase. ...not everyone with a particular type of cancer will have a higher level of a tumor marker associated with that cancer. ...tumor markers have not been identified for every type of cancer. ...Although an elevated level of a tumor marker may suggest the presence of cancer, this alone is not enough to diagnose cancer. Therefore, measurements of tumor markers are usually combined with other tests, such as biopsies, to diagnose cancer.
From the national Cancer institute (updated 2011) "There is no universal marker for tumors". Note that marker in that context refers to samples from any source, including blood.
To answer the converse, not all tumors need have unique markers. E.g. AFP is linked to several types of cancer.
Cancer can be detected by some tests (for both men and women) like :
1. Skin test : In this test you find new growths of skin, sores that do not heal, changes in the size, shape, or color of any moles, or any other changes on the skin.
2. Colon and Rectum test : This test is done for cancer of the colon and the rectum.
3. Mouth test : Through this test you can check your mouth for changes in the color of the lips,tongue, or inner cheeks,cracks, sores, white patches, swelling, or bleeding.
Through all these test you can detect cancer in general.