CA 19-9 Test
What is a CA 19-9 test?
A CA 19-9 test determines the protein level called CA 19-9 in a blood sample. CA 19-9 is a specific sort of tumor marker. Tumor markers are chemicals produced in your body by cancer cells or normal cells in response to malignancy.
CA 19-9 can be found in trace levels in the blood of healthy humans. CA 19-9 levels that are elevated are frequently associated with pancreatic cancer. But, high levels can also indicate other forms of cancer or diseases that aren't cancer. High CA 19-9 levels can be caused by gallstones and liver cirrhosis, for example.
Since high levels of CA 19-9 can indicate various conditions, the test is not used to screen for or diagnose cancer or other disorders. Nonetheless, it can aid in the monitoring of your cancer and the effectiveness of your therapy.
Alternative names: cancer antigen 19-9, carbohydrate antigen 19-9, CA 199 measurement, CA 19-9 radioimmunoassay (RIA)
What is it used for?
CA 19-9 blood tests can be used to determine:
- Keep an eye on certain forms of cancer and cancer therapy. CA 19-9 levels frequently rise as cancer spreads and fall as tumors shrink.
- Assist in predicting how cancer will behave over time.
- Check to see if cancer has reappeared following therapy.
- When combined with other testing, it can aid in the diagnosis of some malignancies and other disorders.
- Even if they have a malignancy that normally produces significant amounts of CA 19-9, some persons do not develop it. A CA 19-9 tumor marker test is ineffective for these persons.
What is the need for a CA 19-9 test?
If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or any form of cancer that generates high CA 19-9, you may require a CA 19-9 blood test. Cancers that generate high CA 19-9 include:
- Bile duct
- Colon and rectum
Your healthcare provider may test you on a frequent basis during cancer treatment to assess if your therapy is effective.
When your treatment is finished, you may require CA 19-9 testing to see if cancer has returned. CA 19-9 levels above normal may be one of the first signals that cancer cells are regrowing.
What happens in a CA 19-9 blood test?
A tiny needle will be inserted by a healthcare expert to draw blood from the arm's veins. Following the insertion of the needle, a little quantity of blood will be collected in a test tube for a sample. When the needle goes in, you might feel a slight sting. This normally takes within five minutes.
How to do to prepare for the test?
A CA 19-9 blood test usually does not require any extra preparation. But check with your provider to make sure. You may need to stop taking certain vitamins before the test if you take them.
Is there any risk in the test?
Having a blood test poses no risk or danger. You may experience some discomfort or bruising where the needle was inserted earlier, but most symptoms will go soon.
What do the findings imply?
If you are undergoing cancer therapy, you may be tested numerous times during your treatment. Your doctor will review all of your test data to see how your CA 19-9 levels have changed. Your results may reveal:
Your CA 19-9 levels are increasing
This might indicate that your tumor is developing and/or that your treatment is not working. Additional tests are normally required to determine the actual cause.
Your CA 19-9 levels are dropping
This might indicate that your tumor is decreasing and that your treatment is effective.
Your CA 19-9 levels have remained constant
This might indicate that your sickness is stable and has not improved or worsened.
Your CA 19-9 levels dropped after therapy but then increased
This might indicate that your cancer has returned or increased. Further testing will be required to determine whether cancer is the true cause of the elevated CA 19-9 level.
If you do not have cancer but have a high amount of CA 19-9 in your blood, you may have a health concern that requires treatment. CA 19-9 levels in healthy adults can be elevated. Nevertheless, high levels may indicate a disorder such as:
Discuss your findings with your healthcare physician.
If your doctor suspects you have one of these illnesses, you will almost certainly require more testing to confirm it.
Important information to know about the CA 19-9 exam?
Several methods are used by labs to determine the quantity of CA 19-9 in your blood sample. Your findings may be influenced by the test procedure. If you get frequent cancer testing, it's crucial to have them all done by the same method and typically at the same lab. Your provider will be able to compare your findings over time as a result of this.
The method used to measure your CA 19-9 levels is generally stated in your test result. Talk to your provider if you have any questions regarding how your tests are performed.