Pregnancy Tests Could Detect Some Cancers

by Sarah Jio, Glamour

Have you ever taken a pregnancy test? Health experts are discussing a surprising topic--whether a pregnancy test can diagnose, or just hint at, the presence of certain cancers...

Fox's medical expert Dr. Manny Alveraz wrote about a surprising case of a man who took a pregnancy test and, well, tested positive. "Recently, an anonymous user posted what he thought was a funny story to the popular social news site Reddit, describing how his male friend took a pregnancy test--which came back positive," he writes. "After many commenters urged the man's friend to go the doctor, it turned out the friend actually had testicular cancer."

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Um, so what's going on? "What a pregnancy test measures is a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). ... [T]here are some cancer cells that also produce beta hCG. These cancers include some that are particular to males like testicular cancer, but also ones that are related to the female reproductive system. There are certain cancers such as choriocarcinoma, ovarian germ cell tumors and molar pregnancies--which are masses inside the uterus--that have been linked with high elevations of hCG."

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Should you take a pregnancy test to check on your cancer risk? No. But it's a good reason to always see your doc if a pregnancy test comes back positive, or even faintly positive. It could mean many things, not just a baby!

Have you ever had a false positive pregnancy test?

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