Cancer Markers

Here is a brief rundown of some useful cancer markers. We don’t often talk about these, but they can be life-saving and are easily available to test if you need to. Obviously, you should be talking to your GP if you have any suspicion of cancer, but I can test for these if you need me to via FDX, just ask. Useful info anyway, so I am sharing a blog post from FDX for you – interesting, particularly for prostate cancer markers, I thought. I’ll also put this on the Cancer factsheet in the A-Z for you.

Cancer Markers (tumour markers) are specific proteins produced by the body in response to cancer growth or by cancer tissues. Their presence within blood plasma can aid in detection of some types of cancer. 

CA 15-3
Cancer Antigen 15-3 or Carbohydrate Antigen 15-3 is typically elevated in advanced stages of breast cancer, and in three-quarters of those where it has metastasised to other organs. It can also be elevated in bowel, bladder, lung, ovarian and endometrial cancers. Levels are also found in cirrhosis, hepatitis and benign breast disease.

Normal < 31 U/ml (30% of patients have an elevated CA 15-3 for 30-90 days after treatment, so wait 2-3 months after starting new treatment to check).

CA 19-9
Cancer Antigen 19-9 or Carbohydrate Antigen 19-9 is typically found to be raised in those with advanced pancreatic cancer. It may also be raised in bowel cancer, lung cancer, gallbladder and liver or biliary tree cancers. This marker can also be elevated in benign disease such as gall stones, pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, and liver disease.

< 37 U/ml is normal
> 120 U/ml is generally caused by tumour

CA 125
Cancer Antigen 125 or Carbohydrate Antigen 125 is raised in ovarian, breast, colorectal, uterine, cervical and lung. Can also be elevated in Endometriosis and other benign conditions.

Normal 0-35 U/ml

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein that is made in the prostate in two forms – complexed and free. Complexed PSA is bound to other proteins, while free PSA is not bound to anything. Using a combination of PSA Total, Free and Ratio markers will aid in determining the likelihood of prostate dysfunction and the development of prostate cancer. Prostate tumours normally produce complexed PSA, while normal prostate cells produce free PSA. Free PSA tests are used to find the PSA free/total ratio. A high ratio means that you do not need a prostate biopsy.

Source: FDX Diagnostics

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