The Test Sample
What is being tested?
AFP is a protein that is normally produced by the developing fetus. However, it can also be produced by certain tumours and disease of the liver. Raised levels of AFP are found in the majority of patients with a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma and also in some patients with cancer of the testis.
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is taken by needle from a vein in the arm.
NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.
Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.