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Unread 12-28-2001, 11:43 PM
CA 125 Info

I found this info on CA 125 tests. My CA test before my surgery was very high. 9-35 is normal. My CA came back at 840. It was correct in indicating a cancer for me. I have seen so many questions on CA tests. I thought this might be helpful. It is from the Johns Hopkins Site.

How accurate is a CA 125 test for ovarian cancer?

The CA 125 test only returns a true positive result for about 50% of Stage I ovarian cancer patients. The CA 125 test is not an adequate early detection tool when used alone.

The CA 125 test has an 80% chance of returning true positive results from stage II, III, and IV ovarian cancer patients. The other 20% of ovarian cancer patients do not show any increase in CA 125 concentrations.

However several gynecological disorders can cause a false positive result. Endometriosis, benign ovarian cysts, first trimester of pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease all produce higher levels of CA 125.

70% of people with cirrhosis, 60% of people with pancreatic cancer, and 20%-25% of people with other malignancies have elevated levels of CA 125.

A study of about 22,000 post menopausal women 45 years or older screened about 11,000 with the CA 125 test. 468 patients with elevated CA 125 levels were given an ultrasonography test. Of those patients, 29 underwent surgical procedures. 6 had ovarian cancers, 2 had adenocarcinoma of unknown origin, 14 had benign cancers, 4 had fibroids, and 3 had no abnormalities.

CA 125 test has a lower specificity in premenopausal women than postmenopausal women.

The CA 125 test is not recommended for use alone as an early detection method. The rate of false positives is very high, and there has been no data concerning change in mortality.

The CA 125 test should not be used alone to detect ovarian cancer, but rather with transvaginal sonography and rectovaginal pelvic examination for greater accuracy.

Combining detection methods lowers the number of false positive results.

The CA 125 test should be done serially for best accuracy.
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Unread 12-29-2001, 06:35 AM
CA 125 Info

Thanks Robin,
This is very informative, and we do get lots of questions on this test here.
Thanks for posting it!!
Unread 12-29-2001, 09:35 AM
CA 125 Info

Hi Robin,

Thanks so much for sharing this information. I know there is so many questions and a whole lot of confusion associated with this test. Thankfully this is also the test that helped identify my cancer.

I've read several articles on hopefully what will become a more reliable screening test for ovarian cancers. There are so many types of ovarian cancer, some that can be picked up by the CA125 but some that aren't measured by this, such as Maria's type.

We can all only pray they find a test that works for all and hopefully soon.


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Unread 12-29-2001, 05:27 PM
CA 125 Info

My CA 125 came back at 17. Does that mean there is definitely no cancer? My doctor didn't seem to put much stock in it, one way or the other. He ordered it because of a complex cyst, which he kept calling a tumor at my last visit.

Unread 12-29-2001, 11:33 PM
Hi Diane

Before I had my hyster, when I got the call about having a possible malignancy, I didn't even know what my "number" was. I didn't know what it was until about 4 weeks post when I asked for it, because others were asking me.

I think that my dr's used the CA in conjunction with other tests to construct a diagnosis or hypothesis as a whole. I know that I have friends with OVCA that have had/have way lower & higher CA numbers than me.

At this point you have to trust somebody. I hope that you can trust your dr. I know the worry you are going through. I think all of us on this board do. I hope that you find out you have a benign cyst and put this all behind you forever.

Take Care - RobinS
Unread 12-30-2001, 08:21 PM
CA 125 Info

Hi Diane,

I wanted to second what Robin mentioned, my original CA125 came back at 656. After that I was sent for a physical exam by both my regular Gyn and then the Gyn Oncologist who ended up doing my surgery.

In between the two visits, I had an MRI which showed a large mass which actually turned out to be two large grapefruits that were my ovaries. Right up until surgery they weren't completely ruling out other conditions even though the odds of it not being cancerous were pretty slim.

One of the things my oncologist mentioned on how they determine what they "might" be dealing with prior to surgery is by the size, shape, texture and density of any "masses". A smoother, more round and non opaque type normally might be less likely to be cancerous than one that is misshapen, bumpy and solid.

Although nothing is ever certain until pathology is performed, this can sometimes give them a head start on what to expect. You might want to ask him the particulars on your paticular situation and see if he can maybe shed some further light on it for you, if nothing else than to ease your mind.

I'm hoping they are correct and this turns out to be cystic and nothing to worry about. Best to you and please keep us posted on how you're doing.



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