Cancer Antigen 15-3 is a tumor marker seen in almost 75% of patients with metastasized breast cancer and in only approximately 30% of patients with localized breast cancer. It is most useful in monitoring advanced breast cancer and response to treatment. Most doctors advise CA 15-3 prior to initiating treatment. Once the patient is on therapy serial measurements are done to see the response to treatment. If the values decrease it means response to therapy while increasing levels may suggest progression. Several noncancerous conditions like benign breast or ovarian disease, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and hepatitis can bring up your levels of CA 15-3. Ovarian, lung and prostate cancers may also produce CA 15-3. It is very important that any test result is correlated clinically.
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