What is CA 199 ?:CA-19-9 is a tumor marker, or substance produced because of cancer. The was first developed for colon cancer, however it has been found to be very sensitive for pancreatic cancer.
How is the test used?:CA 199 is used to evaluate how a patient is responding to cancer treatment, or to differentiate between types of cancers, like bile duct cancer and pancreatic cancer. It can also indicate recurrence of pancreatic cancer.
Can CA 199 be used as a screening tool?:Unfortunately, no. By the time a patient exhibits symptoms to prompt the test, the disease is usually in an advanced stage. So, it wouldn't be an effective screening tool.
How is the test given?:A simple blood draw is taken just like any normal blood draw for tests.
What do the results of the CA 199 test mean?:Anything higher than 37 U/ml is considered abnormal. The higher the number, the more advanced the disease may be.
What other reasons would cause an elevated CA 19-9?:Conditions such as gallstones, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and cholecystitis can also causes elevated levels of CA 19-9 in the blood.