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How reliable is CA125? How reliable is CA125?

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Unread 07-27-2004, 12:44 PM
How reliable is CA125?

My GYN Oncologist has once told me that CA125 is a very bad test. It always shows false results......

Is this true? And how am I going to get tested? Thank you!

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Unread 07-27-2004, 02:12 PM
How reliable is CA125?


A CA-125 is not good enough to screen for ovarian cancer - there are many false positives, especially in premenopausal women.

In women who are past menopause, an elevated ca-125 with ct/ultrasound evidence of an ovarian mass, is a decent predictor of cancer.

I would agree that the ca-125 should not be used for general screening, but in women with a suspicious mass, or those who are deciding whether to have a gynecological oncologist do their hyst (rather than a regular gyn) it can be a useful tool.

Ovarian cancer has a better outcome when gyn-oncologists do the surgery, and the ca-125 is one tool that can be used to decide when a gyn onc should be called in.

Unread 07-27-2004, 03:11 PM
How reliable is CA125?

Hi Kim,

Althought a ca125 number is not a means of detection, it definately does not always have false positive readings as you have said.

I know that many doctors do not like to do this test part of a regular checkup but I think that everyone should have a baseline number, be it high or low, before cancer is even thought about.

After all my treatments, my last ca125 became my "baseline number". Well my number was 9 at that time I was thrilled. Within the next two years my number has been lingering in the 20's. Of course every time it went up, I paniced, even though the number was well within the normal limits.

My oncologist agreed that somewhere in the 20 range is "my" bodys normal number and I agree. wish I had had a baseline number before all this started.

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Unread 07-27-2004, 03:22 PM
How reliable is CA125?

Hi all,
I thought that CA125 test was only used for ovarian cancers. Am I wrong about that? When I was diagnosed with cervical cancer I had a slightly elevated CA 125, it was 42. I have not had the test since because the gyn/doc said it isn't useful for cervical cancer. Is he wrong about that? Should I be having a CA125?

Kim, what is it that you want to be tested for? My followup include a pap smear and examination by the gyn/onc, but no other tests.

Unread 07-27-2004, 05:53 PM
How reliable is CA125?

Hi ladies

Ive had the CA125 test too because of cysts. My understanding is that the tests can be higher than normal where there is Ovca, endometriosis, during menstruation, and also in breast cancer and liver problems. The marker can be produced when there is a particular type of inflammation process in your body. So, it must be used in conjunction with other tests. If you are then diagnosed with Ovca, they can use the test to see how the tumour is responding to surgery/chemo.

You can also have OVca and not have a high level, just as you can have a high level and not have Ovca (ie false negatives and false positives).
Unread 07-27-2004, 08:48 PM
How reliable is CA125?

My gyn/onc uses the CA-125 not as a diagnostic tool for Ovarian cancer, but as a gauge to how well I am responding to chemo...As I understand it, if the numbers keep dropping, the treatments are working. In my own brief experience, after two treatments, so far, so good, according to those numbers! I *HOPE* they mean something good!
Unread 07-28-2004, 06:57 AM
How reliable is CA125?

I have Endometriosis for years. That's why I wanted to get tested for Ovarian Cancer when I learned my cervical cancer diagnosis. But the Doctor wouldn't do it......
Unread 07-28-2004, 07:32 PM
How reliable is CA125?

The CA125 test does not always show false results. If it did, no one would use it for anything.

An ultrasound can show whether you have an ovarian mass or not. If you do, then a CA125 test might be ordered.

Many doctors believe that ovarian cancer is an older woman's disease. I was 37 when diagnosed. I have twice shared a chemo room with a 17-year-old who has the same type and stage of cancer as me: Stage 3C ovarian cancer.

I have a friend who has Stage IV stomach cancer, and she is just 30. She was misdiagnosed for a year, and now they cannot operate. It is a horrible situation.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the "age profiling" done by doctors doesn't always make sense.

I don't think you should worry unless you are clearly exhibiting symptoms of ovarian cancer. Given your condition, have you had an ultrasound? If so, and if it's come back normal, you are probably fine. Don't worry! But don't be afraid to push your doctors if you feel they are dismissing something because you are only 28.

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