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CA-125: The Ovarian Cancer Test

Susan April 8, 2008 Cancer screenings Comments Off on CA-125: The Ovarian Cancer Test
CA-125: The Ovarian Cancer Test

The CA-125 cancer test is one of the best weapons we have against ovarian cancer; this lab test, when properly used, can spot the signs of ovarian cancer and help women get the treatment they need–early.

Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer among American women. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance stated that some 20,000 American women contract ovarian cancer yearly. 15,000 of them die from the disease.

As with prostate cancer, colon cancer and other kinds of cancer, regular cancer screenings are critical to survival. The five-year survival rate for women with ovarian cancer is just 45%. However, this rate increases to 93% when a CA-125 cancer test or other cancer screening identifies the disease early, before it has a chance to spread. Testing is critical, and you don’t need a prescription for a health test like the CA-125 cancer test.

The CA-125 Cancer Test Should Be Part of Your Early Detection Routine

Unfortunately, many health professionals and medical textbooks still hold to the obsolete notion that ovarian cancer has no symptoms during the earliest stages. The truth is that there are many symptoms, including:

  • gastrointestinal upset, including indigestion, gas and nausea
  • changes in bowel movement
  • mysterious weight gain or loss
  • pain during intercourse
  • lack of energy and breath
  • low back pain
  • a sudden “full stomach” sensation during or after eating
  • loss of appetite

If others in your family have suffered from ovarian cancer, make sure you monitor these symptoms and get CA-125 cancer tests regularly. Ask your doctor about lab tests and the frequency of your CA-125 cancer test routine.

How Does the CA-125 Cancer Test Work?

The CA-125 test monitors a substance that is secreted by cancer cells and normal cells that are in an inflamed condition. The cancer test derives its name from the abbreviation “CA,” which stands for “cancer antigen.”

However, lab test customers should know that the CA-125 cancer test is not a perfect cancer screening test. It’s about 80% accurate, but it’s possible that the CA-125 cancer test returns a positive result when the subject is cancer-free or returns a negative result when the subject does have ovarian cancer. Possible “red herring” conditions that can cause a false positive CA-125 cancer test are: pregnancy, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and menstruation.

It’s important that the CA-125 cancer test is used as part of an early detection routine, not as a standalone cancer screening. Don’t hesitate to protect your loved ones and yourself from the threat of ovarian cancer.  Good health to you!

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