Cancer is a progressive disease that affects thousands of people across the world. Cancer is one of the leading killer diseases because of the aggressive nature of the condition. Initially, cancer may begin with a single or small number of cells that become abnormal due to some trigger. These cells gradually multiply and begin to occupy spaces formerly held by healthy cells. As these cells further multiply, the normal functioning of the organ or affected area of the body begins to be compromised. Cancer becomes extremely serious when it passes to other parts of the body. The prognosis at this stage is fairly bleak.
There are several kinds of cancer that affect the human body. Cancers are usually named by the area where the cancer originates. There are many different tests and screening methods that can be used to check for cancer. Some of these may even provide evidence of the beginnings of cancer. This information is useful for cancer prevention and care. Most cancer tests are used to confirm the presence of the disease. These tests are, therefore, used for cancer diagnosis and not for cancer prediction or prevention.
The ca-19-9 blood test is a medical health test used to determine the presence of a specific marker in the blood. This marker, known as the ca-19-9 marker corresponds to cancer specific to the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen which produces juices used for digestion. Pancreatic juices work along with other digestive enzymes produced in the stomach and liver to process food fully. Pancreatic cancer affects this part of the body. This type of cancer is often difficult to detect because the gland is located deep within the abdomen. The gland is also quite small, so the detection of tumor masses on such a gland is not very easy. Therefore, the ca-19-9 blood test is used to detect pancreatic cancer.
The ca-19-9 marker is measured in the blood of an individual. Generally speaking, as the disease advances it will produce greater ca-19-9 elevation. Therefore, the ca-19-9 blood test is useful to detect the presence of the condition as well as to detect how far the condition has advanced. The substance ca-19-9 is produced by the gland when it is affected by cancer. Under normal circumstances, there will be some small amount of ca-19-9 in the blood. When this value rises, the doctor will suspect pancreatic cancer. Some studies have also shown that colon cancer may be detected in a similar way, although there are other tests for colon cancer that are more specific and, therefore, more accurate.
The ca-19-9 blood test is conducted in the same way as any blood test would be conducted. A sample of blood is drawn from a vein in the upper forearm of the patient. This sample of blood is then tested in a laboratory for the ca-19-9 tumor marker. The quantity of ca-19-9 in the sample will determine whether it falls in the normal range or in the elevated range. The ca-19-9 normal range is any value that falls below 35 units per milliliter of blood. Generally speaking, if the ca-19-9 results are below 25 units per liter of ca-19-9 the person is considered to be healthy. The ca-19-9 blood test usually takes less than a minute to be conducted. This test is ordered when there are signs of the disease having progressed in the individual's system. The test for ca-19-9 is also used to monitor treatment of the condition, especially if the condition has been successfully treated. Patients may be subjected to the ca-19-9 test to check if the cancer has re-appeared or not.