What is a CA 15-3?
CA 15-3 test determines the level of CA 15-3, or cancer antigen 15-3, in your blood. The chemical CA 15-3 enhances the immune system in your body. The CA 15-3 antigen is released by certain cancer in the blood. This test is used to detect and monitor certain types of cancer.
The amount of CA 15-3 may rise with the presence of malignant cells or tumors in the breast. CA 15-3 is released in higher-than-normal amounts by cancerous breast tumors, where it eventually enters the circulation.
The test may also be known as a CA breast test or a cancer antigen breast test by medical professionals.
Why do I need to take this test?
This test may be necessary to track how your body reacts to breast cancer therapy. The CA 15-3 test is not used to diagnose or screen for breast cancer. Certain breast cancer patients do not have high levels of CA 15-3. A positive CA 15-3 test result can also result from diseases other than breast cancer.
You might require this test if:
- Your healthcare professional wants to know how well the therapy is working for you after you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Your doctor wants to know if your breast cancer has returned or spread after you've previously received treatment for it.
What further tests may be advised in addition to this test?
Your doctor can suggest a test to look for CA 27-29, another breast cancer tumor marker. To find out if you have cancer, you could also undergo further blood and diagnostic testing.
Doctors may provide a blood test called a CA 15-3 test to patients who have had breast cancer. The CA 15-3 test reveals the blood levels of the CA 15-3 protein, which can rise as breast cancer progresses.
Reduced levels of CA 15-3 may be a sign that the tumor is being treated successfully in reducing the spread of cancer. Yet, CA 15-3 can occasionally point to other medical concerns, such as liver illness or benign breast diseases. Thus, more tests will probably be used by doctors to support the results.
How is this test done?
The CA 15-3 test is a blood test that may be done in a hospital or at a doctor's office. A needle will be used to draw blood from an arm vein by a medical practitioner.
Is there a danger involved with this test?
A blood test has no serious risks or dangers. However, some people may have little bruising, bleeding, infections, and dizziness. One could experience a mild sting or pain when the needle pricks the arm or hand and the area could be painful thereafter. But all these go soon.
How to prepare for the CA 15-3 test?
You do not need to prepare anything for this test. Be sure your doctor is aware of all medications, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This covers over-the-counter medications and any illegal substances you may be using. If the doctor suggests you to stop taking these medications or supplements before then, stop it.
What do the findings of my test mean?
Test results may differ depending on your age, gender, medical history, and other factors. Depending on the lab, your test results might change. Find out what your test findings signify by asking your healthcare practitioner.
CA 15-3 is measured in units per milliliter (U/mL). A normal test should have a value of not more than 30 U/mL.
It's crucial to understand that a positive CA 15-3 blood test does not always indicate that you have breast cancer or that it has returned. The presence of CA 15-3 in your blood might result from other health issues.CA 15-3 levels can also rise due to noncancerous diseases of the breast, ovary, and liver.
The findings of this test are compared to other clinical data. In general, rising numbers might indicate illness progression or recurrence. Reduced levels may indicate illness regression.