Increase in CA125 readings

My Mum died of Ovarian cancer at the age of 62 and because of this I try to get regular CA125 blood tests especially as some years ago I had several cysts in one ovary which did disperse. In November 2011 my reading was 9 and in May 2013 it has gone up to 20. I know this is still within the range but should I be concerned that this has gone up this much in 18 months? Your advice would be appreciated please. Very many thanks. Angie

3 Replies

  • Hello Angie,

    The brief answer is 'no'. Ca125 varies with menstruation and other inflammatory processes, so, to get a 'true' rise, you would need to take comparable tests, say each month for 3 months, and then indentify a trend upwards. That MIGHT be cause for concern and would lead to more investigations. If you have only just found out that it was 20 in May, you might want to go to your GP and ask for another test and take it from there. My oncologist is adamant that he needs bloods, scan and examination to diagnose ov. ca., and it seems that your doctor has not been concerned, but as you have it in your family, you might like to get it checked out.

    Very best wishes,


  • Dear Angie

    I agree with Isadora that CA125 does fluctuate. I can imagine how it weighs on your mind to have lost your Mum to Ovarian Cancer. I just wondered whether you'd be suitable for BRAC screening which detects if there's a particular genetic defect that would give your family line a propensity to Ovarian Cancer. You would usually have at least 2 people in your close family who have had ovarian, breast or prostrate cancer to quality for screening. If you have it might be worth asking your GP to refer you. If you find you are BRAC negative it may well put your mind more at rest.

    I think you shouldn't be worried about slight fluctuations of your CA125. Keep a thoughtful eye out for the other symptoms such as persistent bloating, abdominal discomfort, needing to wee more often, flatulence or change in bowel habits.

    Hope the replies give you some reassurance. Love Annie xxx

  • Thanks Isadora and Annie for your replies which are very much appreciated. My family history is very sketchy as I had no contact with my Father from the age of 4 to 34 and then only slight contact before he died. Unfortunately, I do not know on his side if anyone had ovarian, breast or prostate cancer but other family members on my mother's side had cancer but I do not know the details! I have not heard of BRAC screening, so will have a chat with my Doctor and also see if I can get another CA125 reading to see if is still around the same figure. It is not easy to get the blood test done in Newbury as I had one rejected by the Path Lab as they said that I did not come under the criteria to have a CA125 reading as I only know of my Mum dying of ovarian cancer and you need to now know of 2 family members. Unfortunately families never spoke about their grandparents or other relations and as I have no siblings and my Mum only had 1 sister who has also died but I think this was of a heart attack, it is not possible for me to find out the information. I even mentioned to my Doctor that I am prepared to pay for a blood test or ultrasound scan but in the end he pushed for me to have the CA125 in May. Thanks for your advice. Love Angie xx

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