CA-125 exam: what it is for and values

The CA 125 exam is widely used to check a person's risk of developing some diseases, such as ovarian cancer, endometriosis or ovarian cyst, for example. This test is done from the analysis of a blood sample, in which the concentration of CA 125 protein, which is normally high in ovarian cancer, is measured, being considered a marker for this type of cancer.

Although the CA 125 concentration is above 35 U / mL in certain situations, it does not indicate that it is the only diagnostic tool, and other tests are necessary to reach the diagnostic conclusion. Despite this, this test can be used to assess a woman's risk of developing uterine or ovarian cancer, for example, as women with high CA-125 values ​​are generally more likely to have these types of cancer. See the main signs of ovarian cancer and endometriosis.

What is it for

The CA 125 exam is requested by the doctor primarily to assist in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer and to monitor the development and response to treatment.

In addition, this test may be requested to identify ovarian cancer, endometriosis, pancreatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, cirrhosis and ovarian cyst along with other tests, as the concentration of this protein in the blood is also high in these situations.

How the exam is done

The CA-125 exam is usually done from a small blood sample taken with a syringe, as in any blood test, which is then sent to the laboratory for analysis. This test can also be performed by analyzing the fluid in the chest or abdominal cavity.

To perform the exam, fasting is not necessary and the result is usually released after 1 day depending on the laboratory in which it is performed.

What can be the changed result

The normal value of CA 125 in the blood is up to 35 U / mL, values ​​above that considered altered and, in most cases, indicative of ovarian cancer or endometriosis, and the doctor should request other tests to arrive at the final diagnosis.

In addition, when the test is used to assess cancer treatment, the decrease in values ​​usually indicates that the treatment is being effective. On the other hand, when there is an increase in the concentration of protein in the blood, it may mean that the treatment is not being effective, being necessary to change the therapeutic approach, or even to indicate metastasis.

Find out about other tests that help identify different types of cancer.