Understanding the ovarian cancer tumour marker

Ovarian cancer symptoms:

Ovarian cancer can be difficult to detect in its early stages because the symptoms are often vague and can be caused by other conditions as well. However, some common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge

It’s important to note that these symptoms may also be caused by other medical conditions, so it’s important to see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms for an extended period of time or if they worsen over time. Regular gynaecological check-ups and screenings can also help with early detection of ovarian cancer.

The CA-125 blood test is a widely used tool in healthcare that helps diagnose and monitor certain medical conditions. It measures the amount of a protein called cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) in the blood, which is produced by cells in the female reproductive system. In this article, we will explain what the CA-125 blood test is, when it is recommended, what diseases or conditions it is associated with, when it is raised, and what to do if it is raised.

What is CA-125?

CA-125 is a protein that is normally produced by cells in the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and lining of the uterus. It is also produced by some other tissues, such as the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity. Small amounts of CA-125 are normally present in the blood of healthy women, but levels can be elevated in certain medical conditions.

When should I test for it?

The CA-125 blood test is primarily used as a diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer, which is the most deadly form of gynecologic cancer. It is also used to monitor the progression of ovarian cancer and the effectiveness of treatment. The test may be recommended for women who have symptoms of ovarian cancer, such as abdominal bloating, pelvic pain, and difficulty eating, as well as those who are at high risk of developing the disease due to family history or genetic factors.

In addition to ovarian cancer, the CA-125 blood test may also be used to diagnose and monitor other medical conditions, including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, and certain types of lung, breast, and pancreatic cancers.

What are the diseases or conditions associated with it?

The CA-125 blood test is primarily associated with ovarian cancer, as elevated levels of CA-125 are often a sign of the disease. However, it is important to note that elevated CA-125 levels can also be caused by other medical conditions, including benign ovarian tumors, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and pelvic inflammatory disease. In some cases, even pregnancy and menstruation can cause temporary elevations in CA-125 levels.

When is it raised?

CA-125 levels can be raised for a variety of reasons, but in most cases, elevations are due to medical conditions that affect the female reproductive system. As mentioned above, ovarian cancer is the most common cause of elevated CA-125 levels, but other gynecologic conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids can also cause elevations. In addition, certain types of lung, breast, and pancreatic cancers can also cause elevations in CA-125 levels.

What should I do if it is raised?

If your CA-125 levels are raised, it is important to remember that this does not necessarily mean that you have ovarian cancer or any other medical condition. Elevated CA-125 levels can be caused by a variety of factors, and additional tests may be needed to determine the underlying cause. A Rainbow doctor may recommend further testing, such as imaging scans or a biopsy, to help diagnose or rule out certain medical conditions.

If a medical condition is identified, a Rainbow doctor will work with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan. In the case of ovarian cancer, treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, depending on the stage and extent of the disease. It is important to remember that early detection is key when it comes to treating ovarian cancer, so if you are at high risk or have symptoms, it is important to speak with your doctor about screening and testing options.

In conclusion, the CA-125 blood test is an important tool in healthcare that can help diagnose and monitor certain medical conditions, including ovarian cancer.

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