What is a CA-125 blood test?
CA-125 blood test is a test that detects the presence of a protein known as CA-125 (it is a cancer antigen 125) in a blood specimen. CA-125 is classified as a tumor marker. Elevated levels of certain tumor markers in your blood may indicate cancer. If you have cancer, evaluating certain tumor markers may help you learn more about how to treat it.
CA-125 values are frequently elevated in ovarian cancer patients. The ovaries produce female hormones and store ova (eggs). Ovarian cancer develops when the cells in the ovary begin to proliferate uncontrollably.
If you have ovarian cancer, CA-125 blood testing can help you determine if your therapy is working or not.
Other names: cancer antigen 125, glycoprotein antigen, an ovarian cancer antigen, CA-125 tumor marker
What is the use of CA-125 Test?
A CA-125 blood test might be used to:
- To determine if ovarian cancer treatment is effective and to look for recurrent ovarian cancer. This is the most typical use for CA-125 blood tests.
- To discover more about growth or lump in the pelvis. If a suspicious mass is seen on imaging, your doctor may order to check CA-125 levels and additional testing to determine whether the lump is ovarian cancer.
- If your risk of ovarian cancer is very high or you have a family history of ovarian cancer, your physician may recommend a CA-125 blood test and other tests to search for symptoms of cancer. A CA-125 test, however, is not utilized as a standard screening test for patients who are not at high risk of ovarian cancer. This is because several non-cancerous diseases, such as endometriosis or a menstrual cycle, can induce elevated CA-125 values.
What is the need of a CA-125 blood test?
If you've been already diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you may be subjected to a number of CA-125 blood tests:
- Throughout therapy, to see if your cancer is getting better. If your CA-125 levels fall, it typically suggests your medication is effective.
- To determine whether your cancer has returned after therapy.
If you have a high risk of developing ovarian cancer, your doctor may advise you to get your CA-125 levels checked. If they are high, you will most likely require more testing to determine if:
- You have a family history of ovarian cancer.
- Have relatives who have experienced breast cancer or colorectal cancer, or colon cancer.
- Having inherited specific gene alterations or circumstances that enhance your chances of developing cancer, such as:
What happens during a CA-125 blood test?
A tiny needle will be used by a healthcare expert to draw blood from a vein in your arm. Following the insertion of the needle, a small amount of blood will be collected in a test tube or vial. You may feel a slight sting when the needle goes in or out. This normally takes five minutes.
How to prepare for the test?
A CA-125 blood test requires no specific preparation.
Is there any risk in the test?
Having a blood test poses no relative risk or danger. One may experience some discomfort or bruising where the needle is inserted, but most of them will go away soon.
What do the findings imply?
The CA-125 test results, along with other health information regarding your condition, will be reviewed by your doctor in detail.
- If you are in an ongoing treatment for ovarian cancer and the results of numerous tests show that your CA-125 levels are decreasing, this typically indicates that the treatment is effective. If your levels rise or remain stable over time, it might indicate that the treatment isn't working.
- If you have completed your ovarian cancer therapy and your CA-125 levels begin to rise over time, your cancer may have returned.
- A high CA-125 level might be a symptom of malignancy if you are at high risk for getting ovarian cancer or have a suspicious pelvic lump. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will generally prescribe more testing.
A high CA-125 score is not always indicative of malignancy. Additional factors that may raise CA-125 levels include:
A normal CA-125 test result does not rule out the possibility of ovarian cancer. This is due to the fact that CA-125 levels may be low in the early stages of cancer. Yet not everyone with ovarian cancer has elevated CA-125 levels.
If you have any concerns about your results, speak with your physician.
Important information to know about a CA-125 blood test?
Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most frequent kind of ovarian cancer. If you have been treated for this form of cancer, you may be tested for HE4 as well as CA-125. According to several research, assessing both tumor markers offers more accurate information for determining if therapy is effective and looking for the recurrence of this type of cancer.