Ovarian Cancer Risk (CA-125)
Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer in women, and around 7,500 women in the UK are diagnosed each year. At the moment, there is no recognised screening programme in the UK for ovarian cancer because there is no single test that reliable identifies the disease at an early stage. Whilst CA-125 testing can help identify risk, it is important to recognise that other conditions can cause levels to elevate such as: endometriosis, cirrhosis, normal menstruation, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids.
It’s not fully understood what puts you at risk of ovarian cancer. But it is most common in women after the menopause – your risks are also increased if a close relative has developed the condition. There are certainly limitations to the CA-125 test. A positive result does not mean you definitely have ovarian cancer, and a negative result does not mean you definitely do not. High CA-125 levels can also be caused by inflammation in the pelvic area, for example as a result of menstruation, endometriosis or even pregnancy. Whilst negative results for CA-125 and follow-up ultrasounds may be reassuring up to a point, they do not entirely rule out the condition. If you’re experiencing symptoms including loss of appetite, frequent abdominal or pelvic pain, a change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss or an increased urinary urgency or frequency, it’s recommended you consult your GP. The CA-125 test is also not recommended for women under the age 40 or over the age of 79.
All our tests have been specially designed to be convenient and non-invasive. Once you’ve booked your appointment, full preparation instructions will be provided in your confirmation email or letter. You can continue to eat and drink normally before your appointment, and you’ll also remain fully clothed throughout.