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CA 125 question CA 125 question

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Unread 04-21-2001, 05:47 AM
CA 125 question

I was talking with my SIL the other day on the phone, she lives in KS and I live in NJ. Anyway, she's in her 50's, post menopausal and successfully takes HRT without problems. She's not had a hyster.

She was telling me that her GYN has been following her for the last 6 mos for an ovarian cyst, seen by ultrasound. Her DD says ultrasound clearly shows it to be a cyst and not a mass. Anyway, SIL was telling me that they have ordered her to have a CA 125 blood test and was asking me if I knew anything about it.

I told her I thought it was used for cancer tracking purposes and not for diagnosis. Just wondering if any one here had any thoughts on this to satisfy my curiosity.
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Unread 04-21-2001, 01:29 PM
CA 125 question

Hi Tina,

You are correct in that the CA125 is meant to be used as more of a tracking/marker test than a diagnostic test. This is mainly due to the fact it measures a certain protein that can elevate with some ovarian cancers. However, that same protein can elevate due to other disorders such as endometriosis also. It also doesn't elevate with "all" ovarian cancers. This is what makes it unreliable to be used as a diagnostic test. So, when you hear of it giving false positives and negatives this is normally what has happened.

However, some Drs are using this to help rule out cancers used in conjunction with vaginal ultrasounds. With all that said, I will tell you this is the test that clued us in that my cancer was present. I had asked for some tests due to a extensive family history of cancer. The CA125 came back extremely elevated. I was then sent for an MRI which showed a very large mass present. In addition, the oncologist could tell by the size, shape, texture and density of the mass that we were dealing with a cancer and not a benign mass.

From what he tells me a cyst is more of a round, smooth, non-opaque and movable. A cancer would be more mishapen, bumpy texture, opaque and inmobile.

Anyway, since I've written yet another novel I'll sign off for now. I wish your SIL the best, glad to hear they seem to be taking good care of her.

{{hugs}} to you both.


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