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Ca 125 test: a screening test for ovarian cancer?



Should I ask my doctor for a CA 125 blood test to investigate Ovarian Cancer ?

Answer by Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, MD

The Cancer Antigen 125 (CA 125) In women with an average risk of ovarian cancer, a blood test is not recommended.

While women with ovarian cancer often have elevated levels of CA 125, elevated CA 125 levels do not always mean that you have ovarian cancer. Some women with ovarian cancer never have elevated levels of CA 125.

Many other conditions may also cause elevated levels of CA 125, including:

  • Endometriosis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Normal menstruation
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Uterine fibroids

For these reasons, physicians do not recommend CA 125 Tests in women with an average risk of ovarian cancer.

Women at high risk for ovarian cancer, eg. B. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer may consider periodic CA 125 tests. But even in these high-risk situations, there are some disagreements about the usefulness of the CA 125 test.

A study of 78,216 women aged 55 to 74 who were randomly selected to receive either an annual CA 125 test and a pelvic ultrasound or the usual medical care showed that testing of CA 125 and ultrasound screening did not reduce deaths from ovarian cancer. The study also found that false-positive tests resulted in additional tests and procedures that sometimes led to serious complications.

If you are concerned about your ovarian cancer risk, ask your doctor about the possibilities of your screening and ways to reduce your risk

Updated: 2017-08-19

Release date: 2017-08-19 [19659017]
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