CA125 Blood Test: A Screening Test for Cancer

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CA-125 blood test

A CA-125 blood test finds out the amount of CA-125 protein present in the blood. CA-125 is a protein – cancer antigen 125. Cancer cells produce this protein in the body. Hence, the presence of CA-125 helps to determine and monitor certain cancers during or after the treatment. An increase in the level of CA-125 indicates that a woman has ovarian cancer. But there are several other reasons for the increase in the CA-125 level. This means the CA-125 blood testis not a definite way to use for ovarian cancer screening.

Normal and noncancerous conditions that can increase the CA-125 level are:

  • Endometriosis
  • Liver disease
  • Menstruation
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Uterine fibroids

 

Why Is CA-125 Blood Test Performed?

  • For the determination of ovarian cancer
  • To monitor the treatment of ovarian, endometrial, peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer
  • for checking for the signs of recurrence
  • To look for early signs of ovarian cancer in women who are at high risk for the disease

 

How Do You Interpret the Results?

Let us understand the results of a CA-125 blood test. The unit used to denote the amount of CA-125 protein present in the blood is units per milliliter (U/mL).

  • The normal value of CA-125 is 35U/mL
  • If the value of CA-125 is more than 35U/mL, it indicates a person may have cancers such as ovarian, endometrial or, peritoneal
  • If the value of CA-125 is less than 35 U/mL, it indicates that cancer is responding to the treatment

 

Who Should Get Tested?

CA-125 blood test is not recommended for a woman who has an average risk of ovarian cancer. On the contrary, doctors recommend a CA-125 blood test for a woman who has a high risk of ovarian cancer.

The list of high risks of ovarian cancer are:

  • Mutations in the genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
  • A family history of ovarian cancer
  • A family history of breast cancer, colon cancer, uterine or rectal cancer
  • A history of endometriosis
  • Never been pregnant

Ovarian cancer occurs when the cells in the ovaries begin to grow and multiply abnormally. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

  • Feeling constantly bloated
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increase in urination
  • A swollen tummy
  • Feeling tired
  • Indigestion
  • Back pain
  • Discomfort in the stomach
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Unplanned weight loss

If you are concerned about the risk of ovarian, endometrial, peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer, consult your doctor today! Get the CA-125 test done as advised by the doctor and ask about the ways to reduce the risk.