Monday, April 30, 2012

The CA-125 Test and What It Means.

Now there are few ways to do this test.
Mine was done using the Siemens Chemiluminescent Method and the normal reference range is anything <20. As I mentioned in an earlier post my initial CA-125 test result was 16,846. You can imagine how absolutely hopeless and frightened I felt when I read that huge ugly number in black and white, beneath my name about 6 weeks ago. I am very pleased to say that today my results came back 1,200. Down by 15,646! Now you may be thinking "Jeeze-that is still up there kiddo" Well, yes it is. But it is declining rapidly, and this was from just 2 cycles of chemo. I fully expect, and my doctors and chemo team concur, to see the numbers continue to decline, especially once I have the debulking surgery and the final 3 cycles of chemotherapy. Now a bit about this test. From
QuoteA cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) is a protein found on the surface of many ovarian cancer cells. It also can be found in other cancers and in small amounts in normal tissue. A CA-125 test measures the amount of this protein in the blood.
CA-125 is used as a tumor marker, which means the test can help show if some types of cancer are present. Most often, the CA-125 test is used to check how well treatment for ovarian cancer is working or to see if ovarian cancer has returned.

Unfortunately it is not a reliable early screening tool on it's own, because several things can cause it to be elevated.
Infection and even exercise are two of them.
There also some women whose levels never rise yet they may have cancer.
As there are some women with elevated levels who do not have cancer.

Keeping track of this lab becomes most useful in cases that have already been diagnosed, or as a partial diagnostic tool when there are other positive clinical signs already present, as in my case the presence of malignant ascites and a complex ovarian cyst. And also to gauge if treatments are working.

I wish this could be used as a reliable early screening tool for all women, because for ovarian cancer there just isn't much to go by.
I do think that if you are having symptoms such as bloating and bowel changes, that this test should be ordered as part of your initial work-up, especially if breast or ovarian cancer has affected a close family member. It is just a simple blood test.
Although the result couldn't and shouldn't sustain a diagnosis on it's own, it should certainly be a part of the whole diagnostic process.

And that is my two cents worth.
Have a great evening all! :)

Love, Dixie

UPDATE 5/2/12
Dr. B. drew another CA-125 on Monday and it came back today at 927! I have officially dipped below the thousand marker and am swimming in the hundreds. Die you damned cancer cells-how do you like me now? Huh?!!!! :

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain"


  1. Glad to hear that your numbers have dipped so low, mom! When they do the surgery, there might be less and less to cut out. I got this prayer rug piece of paper thing in the mail yesterday that depicted Jesus with his eyes closed. It said to look him in the eyes with your prayers until you see them 'open' I prayed for your health (and millions of dollars of course) Not sure if its a scam they wanted me to mail it back to some place in Idaho with personal info, but nonetheless my prayers are with you, mom!

  2. Well thanks for the prayers my dear but don't you dare send any of your personal info to Idaho-Jesus already knows all about you and scammers are everywhere.Unfortunately that is a new low they have sunk to.

  3. woohoo!! fabulous news mom!! we've been praying for continued health for you and good news and dead dead dead cancer!! so glad to see those numbers drop so incredibly!! keeping you in our thoughts and prayers always, keep up that fight!! we love you!!