CA125 Blood Test - Normal Range, Price, Full Form, Result
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An antigen is a substance in your body that can trigger your immune system. CA-125 is the particular cancer antigen associated with ovarian cancer. Doctors use a blood test called the CA-125 test to measure its presence in your body.
The CA-125 blood test helps doctors determine the number of ovarian cancer cells in your body. It is a valuable tool for monitoring the progress of ovarian cancer treatment. Read below to know more about the CA-125 blood test, its benefits, result interpretation, etc.
What is CA-125 Blood Test?
CA-125, also known as "Cancer Antigen 125," is a protein that can be present in high levels in the blood of individuals with ovarian cancer. This protein is released into the bloodstream from the surface of certain cells.
While doctors use the CA-125 test to aid in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, it is not relied upon solely. It is due to the limitations in detecting early-stage cancers and their potential to be elevated by non-cancerous conditions.
Instead, the CA-125 test is valuable for monitoring the effectiveness of ovarian cancer treatment and detecting any signs of cancer recurrence after treatment. It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), providing critical information to healthcare providers in managing the disease.
Need of CA-125 Blood Test
The CA-125 test is not specific to ovarian cancer. So, who needs this test? The group of people who primarily benefit from the CA-125 test are:
Women with ovarian cancer family history
If symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, or difficulty eating are experienced
Women diagnosed with ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer.
Men and women with certain types of cancer, such as pancreatic, lung, breast, or endometrial cancer.
Benefits of CA-125 Blood Test
The CA-125 blood test is a diagnostic tool used to detect and manage certain medical conditions. Here are some benefits of the test:
Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer: It is beneficial in the early detection of ovarian cancer. Elevated levels of CA-125 may indicate the presence of this type of cancer. Detecting ovarian cancer early can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment and improved outcomes.
Monitoring Ovarian Cancer Treatment: For individuals already diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the CA-125 test monitors the effectiveness of treatment. A decline in levels after treatment suggests a positive response, while increasing or stable levels may indicate the need for treatment adjustments.
Identifying Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): It is a condition caused by infection in the female reproductive organs. CA-125 levels can be elevated in PID cases. Early intervention can prevent complications such as infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
Assessing Endometriosis: CA-125 levels can be elevated in women with endometriosis, a condition where tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. This test aids in diagnosing endometriosis and differentiating it from other gynecological conditions with similar symptoms.
Monitoring Ovarian Cysts: In some cases, ovarian cysts can cause increased CA-125 levels. The test helps monitor these cysts, determine their nature (benign or cancerous), and guide appropriate treatment decisions.
Detection of Recurrence: For individuals with a history of ovarian cancer, periodic CA-125 testing can detect cancer recurrence early. This allows prompt intervention and potentially more effective treatment options.
Preparation of CA-125 Blood Test
The CA-125 blood test is a non-invasive test. If you are scheduled to undergo a CA-125 blood test, here are some essential preparation to keep in mind:
No Special Preparations: Generally, there are no special preparations required for the CA-125 blood test. You can continue with your daily activities as usual before the test.
Fasting: In most cases, fasting is not required before a CA-125 blood test. You can have your usual meals and beverages before the test.
Medications: Inform the healthcare provider about medications currently taken, as some medications can influence the CA-125 levels.
Menstrual Cycle: If you are a premenopausal woman, scheduling the CA-125 test during the first few days of your menstrual cycle is ideal. CA-125 levels can fluctuate during the menstrual cycle, and testing provides more consistent results.
Wear Comfortable Clothing: Opt for loose-fitting, comfortable clothing to ease blood draw.
Procedure CA-125 Blood Test
The CA-125 blood test is a simple yet crucial diagnostic tool. If caught early, ovarian cancer is highly treatable, so routine testing is essential. Here is a step-by-step guide on how the CA-125 test is done:
A healthcare professional will clean and disinfect the area with an antiseptic.
They will wrap an elastic band around the patient’s upper arm to make the veins swell with blood.
Once the doctor finds a vein, they will take a blood sample from the patient's arm using a small needle.
After collecting enough blood, they remove the needle and cover the area to stop bleeding.
The blood sample will be sent to a laboratory for analysis.
CA-125 Blood Test Aftercare
For those who have undergone a CA-125 blood test, they must know what to expect after the test. While the procedure is generally quick and painless, one must follow specific guidelines to ensure a smooth recovery and accurate test results. Here is what to expect after the CA-125 blood test:
In most cases, one can resume normal activities immediately after the test.
The patient should stay well-hydrated after the test.
One should follow any specific dietary or lifestyle instructions provided by the doctor.
Avoid strenuous exercise for a few hours after the test.
The healthcare provider may recommend specific medications to manage pain or discomfort the patient may experience after the test.
CA-125 Blood Test Results
Relying on just one test result may not provide enough information. Observing a series of test results showing changing levels is more helpful to diagnose a health condition or issue accurately.
If your CA-125 levels are high, your doctor may suggest additional pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound tests to identify the underlying cause.
Interpretation of the CA-125 Blood Test
The CA-125 normal range is usually 35 units/ml. The test is usually given after 24-48 hours.
Interpretation of High CA-125 Blood Test
Higher than normal CA-125 levels may indicate cancer. The doctor may order further tests to determine the diagnosis. The causes of elevated CA-125 are as follows:
Ovarian Cancer: The primary cause of high CA-125 levels is ovarian cancer. This test is often used to aid in diagnosing and managing ovarian cancer, as cancer cells can produce and release higher levels of the CA-125 protein.
Endometrial Cancer: While ovarian cancer is the primary cause of elevated CA-125 levels, endometrial cancer, a cancer of the uterine lining, can also contribute to higher CA-125 readings.
Benign Ovarian Conditions: Non-cancerous conditions affecting the ovaries, such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis, or ovarian tumours, can also lead to elevated CA-125 levels. These conditions may cause inflammation or irritation in the ovaries, increasing CA-125 production.
Menstrual Cycle: In premenopausal women, CA-125 levels can naturally fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. Levels may be slightly higher just before or during menstruation.
Pregnancy: CA-125 levels may rise during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. This elevation is considered normal and typically not a cause for concern.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: PID, an infection in the female reproductive organs, can cause an increase in CA-125 levels due to inflammation.
Liver Cirrhosis: It is a chronic liver disease that can lead to elevated CA-125 levels due to impaired liver function.
Peritoneal Inflammation: Inflammation of the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity) can cause CA-125 levels to rise. This inflammation may result from various conditions, including infections or medical procedures.
Interpretation of Low CA-125 Blood Test
If the patient has been diagnosed with cancer, a lower CA-125 level may indicate the treatment is working. Other causes of the lower range include the following:
Healthy Individuals: In healthy individuals with no underlying medical conditions, CA-125 levels are typically low. This is considered normal and not a cause for concern.
Interference from Medications: Certain medications, such as hormonal therapies or immunosuppressive drugs, can interfere with CA-125 levels and lead to lower readings on the blood test.
Pregnancy: CA-125 levels may be lower than normal during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. This decrease is considered typical and not indicative of any medical issue.
Menstrual Cycle: CA-125 levels can naturally fluctuate during the menstrual cycle, and in some cases, they may be lower during specific phases of the cycle.
Treatment Plan After CA-125 Blood Test
Adopting better treatment plans will make it easier to identify ovarian cancer at stages where surgery can completely remove the tumor. This is crucial in reducing recurrence rates and improving survival for ovarian cancer patients.
Treatment of High CA-125
If ovarian cancer is confirmed, the treatment plan will be determined based on the cancer stage and individual health factors.
Treatment options may include:
Surgery to remove the tumor.
Chemotherapy to target cancer cells.
Non-cancerous conditions causing high CA-125 levels may require specific management. The doctor may recommend medications to alleviate symptoms and reduce inflammation.
Minimally invasive procedures may be considered for endometriosis or large ovarian cysts.
Antibiotic therapy is the primary treatment for PID, which is caused by infection in the female reproductive organs.
Managing liver cirrhosis includes lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol consumption and following a healthy diet. Medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.
Treatment of Low CA-125
In healthy individuals, low CA-125 levels are generally considered normal and do not require any specific treatment. Routine monitoring of overall health and regular medical check-ups are still essential for maintaining well-being.
Risks of CA-125 Blood Test
CA-125 is a low-risk test. However, like any medical test, there are potential risks and complications that individuals should be aware of. Here are some of the risks and complications associated with the CA-125 blood test:
False Positives: The test may sometimes yield false positive results, indicating elevated CA-125 levels even without ovarian cancer or other medical conditions.
False Negatives: It can produce false negative results, showing normal CA-125 levels even when ovarian cancer or other conditions are present. Relying solely on this diagnostic test may delay proper medical evaluation and treatment.
Lack of Specificity: Elevated CA-125 levels are not specific to ovarian cancer and can be caused by various non-cancerous conditions. This includes endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even pregnancy. Therefore, the CA-125 test alone cannot definitively diagnose ovarian cancer and requires further evaluation.
Cost of CA-125 Blood Test
The cost of medical tests can be a concern for many individuals. CA-125 blood test price ranges from ₹ 550 to ₹1500, depending on the following factors.
The Choice of Lab: These factors include the testing center's location, the laboratory used for testing, and any additional tests or procedures required.
Maintenance: Sometimes, the test cost depends on the maintenance of the laboratory.
₹ 550 to ₹1500
While the CA-125 test can help detect cancer, it has its limitations. Not all women with ovarian cancer will show elevated levels, meaning some may have low test results. Higher CA-125 levels do not necessarily indicate advanced cancer, as individuals with early-stage cancer may also have increased levels.
Our team of experts at HexaHealth will help you with concerns regarding the ovarian tumor marker test. Whether you are looking for the best doctors or hospitals, easy appointments, or free consultations, our expert team is here to do it all for you. To find out more, get in touch with us at Hexahealth today.
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FAQs for CA 125 Blood Test
What is a CA-125 blood test?
CA-125 blood test measures the levels of the cancer antigen 125 protein in the blood. This protein is produced by specific cancer cells. The test is used to monitor the progression of ovarian cancer.
What is the normal range for CA-125 levels in the blood?
The CA-125 test normal range levels in the blood is less than 35 U/mL. However, it must be noted that some healthy women may have slightly elevated CA-125 levels.
What is the CA-125 blood test used for?
The CA-125 blood test is most commonly used to monitor ovarian cancer progression and check for recurrence. However, it can also help diagnose and monitor other conditions, such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Can a CA-125 blood test detect any cancer?
While the CA-125 blood test is most commonly associated with ovarian cancer. Elevated levels of this protein can also be seen in other types of cancer, such as lung, breast, and gastrointestinal cancers.
Do CA-125 blood test levels vary with cancer stage?
CA-125 blood test levels can vary with the cancer stage. In general, higher levels of this protein are associated with more advanced stages of ovarian cancer.
How is the CA-125 test performed?
The CA-125 test is a simple blood test performed at a laboratory. A blood sample will be taken from a vein in the arm during the test. After that, the sample will be sent to a lab for evaluation.
Is the CA-125 blood test accurate in diagnosing ovarian cancer?
While the CA-125 test can be a helpful tool in diagnosing ovarian cancer, it is not always accurate. Imaging tests, such as ultrasounds or CT scans, may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
Does a normal CA-125 mean no cancer?
While a normal CA-125 level can be a good sign, it does not necessarily mean that cancer is not present. Some women with early-stage ovarian cancer may have normal CA-125 levels.
When is the CA-125 blood test indicated?
The CA-125 blood test may be indicated in several situations, such as:
Monitoring the progression of ovarian cancer
Checking for recurrence after treatment
Helping to diagnose other conditions, such as endometriosis.
What other conditions can cause elevated CA-125 levels?
Elevated CA-125 levels can also be caused by the following condition:
How often should someone get a CA-125 blood test with a history of ovarian cancer?
The frequency of these tests may depend on the cancer stage. Generally, a doctor may recommend CA-125 testing every three to six months for the first few years after treatment.
What is the CA-125 blood test price?
The CA-125 test price may range from Rs 550 to Rs 1500. The cost varies depending on several factors.
How long does it take to get the results of a CA-125 blood test?
The time it takes to get a CA-125 blood test results can vary depending on the testing facility. Results are generally available within 24-48 hours.
What are Myths versus Facts About the CA-125 Blood Test
Myth: A high CA-125 level always means ovarian cancer.
Fact: While a high CA-125 level can be an indicator of ovarian cancer, many other conditions can cause elevated levels, including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and even pregnancy.
Myth: An average CA-125 level means there is no ovarian cancer present.
Fact: A normal CA-125 level does not entirely rule out the presence of ovarian cancer. Some individuals with ovarian cancer may have normal CA-125 levels, while others with no cancer may have elevated levels.
All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.
- Charkhchi P, Cybulski C, Gronwald J, Wong FO, Narod SA, Akbari MR. CA125 and Ovarian Cancer: A Comprehensive Review. Cancers. 2020 Dec 11;12(12):3730.
- National Cancer Institute. Tumor Markers [Internet]. National Cancer Institute. 2019.
- True. British Journal of Cancer [Internet]. 2000 [cited 2019 Oct 22];82(9):1535–8.
- CA125 blood test [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 27].
BPharm (Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University, Hyderabad)
2 Years Experience
An enthusiastic writer with an eye for details and medical correctness. An avid reviewer and publisher. She emphasises authentic information and creates value for the readers. Earlier, she was involved in making ...View More
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