A CA 125 test may be used to monitor certain cancers during and after treatment. In some cases, a CA 125 test may be used to look for early signs of ovarian cancer in people with a very high risk of the disease.
A CA 125 test isn’t accurate enough to use for ovarian cancer screening in general because many noncancerous conditions can increase the CA 125 level.
Many different conditions can cause an increase in CA 125, including normal conditions, such as menstruation, and noncancerous conditions, such as uterine fibroids. Certain cancers may also cause an increased level of CA 125, including ovarian, endometrial, peritoneal and fallopian tube cancers.
Why it’s done:
Your doctor may recommend a CA 125 test for several reasons:
If your doctor suspects you may have ovarian cancer or another type of cancer, he or she may recommend a biopsy to collect a sample of cells. Other tests that may be helpful in evaluating these cancers include a transvaginal or pelvic ultrasound, serum human epididymis protein 4 (HE4), and computerized tomography (CT).
Results of the CA 125 test are measured in units per milliliter (U/mL). The normal value is less than 46 U/mL.
If you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian, endometrial, peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer, a decreasing CA 125 level often indicates that the cancer is responding to treatment. A rising CA 125 level may indicate a return or continued growth of the cancer.
The information on healthmatters.io is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.
If your CA 125 level is higher than normal, you may have a benign condition, or the test result could mean that you have ovarian, endometrial, peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer. Your doctor may recommend other tests and procedures to determine your diagnosis.
A number of normal and noncancerous conditions can cause an elevated CA 125 level, including:
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