I was diagnosed with Stage IIc ovarian cancer five and a half years ago. My pre-surgical CA-125 level was only 57 and I was 46 with no family history of ovarian or any other cancers, so the Gynecology-Oncologist told me the likelihood the tumor was malignant was low. The tumor ruptured a week before my scheduled surgery so an emergency surgery was done followed by six courses of chemotherapy. My CA-125 quickly decreased after surgery ( peaked in the 80's), and has been running from 5.2 to 6.5 for the past five years. My question is this: Since my CA-125 level was never significantly elevated, how much of an increase in the level would indicate a possible recurrence of cancer?
Ca 125 is fairly nonspecific test and can be elevated in many benign conditions (infection, heart disease, liver disease, endometriosis)
Having said that, when you have had a known diagnosis of cancer, the CA 125 becomes a tracker for recurrence.
Some tumors produce alot of this protein. Other tumors such as yours, do not produce high levels. However, in my experience, it is still reasonable to follow it.
For you if you start seeing an elevation relative to your baseline, I would repeat it a few times say once a month.
for instance if it is 5 and then 15 and then 6 and then 10 and then 8 - that is just random lab variation
however if it is 5 then 10 then 20 then 40, that is clearly a trend and a reason to check a CT scan
I am glad you are doing so well.
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