Carbohydrate Antigen (CA-125) Blood Test And Results

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is a Carbohydrate Antigen Blood Test?

The Carbohydrate Antigen blood test, also known as the CA 19-9 is a test that is like a tumor marker. According to research and studies conducted, antigen is the substance that is primarily responsible for the adhesion of the colon, pancreas as well as the cancer gastric cells. Hence, if a Carbohydrate Antigen test shows an elevation in the levels of antigen, it could be an indication of gastrointestinal or pancreatic cancer. However, at times an increase Carbohydrate Antigen reading could also be evident in case of people suffering from non malignant problems, some of which include Mirizzi's Syndrome as well as diseases of the liver and bile ducts.

Why is a CA-125 blood test Conducted?

A CA-125 test is conducted when the amount of protein CA 125, mainly the cancer antigen 125 in the blood needs to be measured. There are times when an elevated CA-125 level in the bloodstream is mainly because of certain types of cancer cells in the body. Hence, the main purpose of conducting this medical test may be to monitor the treatment of conditions like fallopian tube cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. At times, a doctor may also recommend a CA-125 marker test in case it is suspected that a woman is at a high risk of cancer.

Results of CA-125 blood tests are measured in units per millimeter (U/ml). The normal range of this level in the body is less than 35 U/ml. Health experts claim that CA-125 results are not always accurate enough to be used for cancer screening in many women. This mainly applies to those women who are pre menopausal, because the CA-125 level could rise due to several factors in them. Some of the other conditions that could cause the CA-125 levels to increase in the body include cirrhosis, pelvic inflammatory diseases and endometriosis. In case the test is conducted on women during their normal menstrual cycles or during the course of pregnancy, it is quite likely to show an elevated CA-125 level in the body too. Women who have been diagnosed with cancer of the ovaries or the fallopian tubes are generally advised to go through this test at regular intervals, to check if the treatment is successful or not. If there is a decline, it means that the woman is responding to the test positively; a rise indicates the return or the continued growth of the cancer.

All women advised to go in for the CA-125 blood test, or the Carbohydrate Antigen blood test should speak to their doctors, for getting their doubts clarified.