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What is a CA 125 blood test?

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Quick Answer

A CA-125 blood test is used to detect a particular protein in the blood. While the test isn't accurate in all women, it is used to look for early cancers in certain high-risk patients and to monitor a patient's response to cancer treatment, according to Mayo Clinic.

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What is a CA 125 blood test?
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Full Answer

Types of cancers that can cause elevated CA-125 levels include ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and stomach cancer. Noncancerous medical conditions can also cause elevated CA-125 levels, including endometriosis, pancreatitis and lupus, according to WebMD.

When used alone, a CA-125 test is not as accurate in detecting early-stage ovarian cancer, as it only returns a positive result in 50 percent of cases, according to Johns Hopkins. However, for stage II, stage III and stage IV cancer patients, there is an 80 percent chance of the test returning a positive result.

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