Doctors often find tumors when examining patients during routine checkups, notes MedicineNet. They check for abnormal lumps in breasts when examining women and feel for hard lumps and unusual swelling in testicles when examining men. Individuals can also perform self exams at home to check for abnormal lumps.
Not all tumors are visible or detectable through touch, which is why doctors use various methods when screening the body for tumors. A mammogram is a breast X-ray that detects tumors too small to feel. Women also undergo pelvic exams, during which doctors feel for abnormalities in the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and rectum through the walls of the vagina, explains MedicineNet. Men undergo prostate exams, during which physicians check for hard or lumpy areas on the prostate through the walls of the rectum.
Blood tests can also be used to detect tumors, notes Mayo Clinic. Tumor marker tests, such as the PSA test to detect prostate cancer and the AFP tests to detect liver cancer, have the ability to identify the chemicals in blood created by certain types of tumors. Not all tumors are cancerous, however. Noncancerous tumors are known as benign tumors, and unlike malignant tumors, these tumors are less likely to spread to other areas of the body, explains Healthline.