Measurement of serum Ca 19-9 carcinogenic antigen is used as a complementary test for the diagnosis and monitoring of pancreatic cancer and for the differential diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma with primary sclerosing cholangitis from patients with cholelithiasis alone.
Cancer markers are substances produced by cells of the body in response to the presence of tumors. Cancer antigen 19-9 (Ca 19-9) is an antigen found to be elevated in patients with gastrointestinal tract tumors. This test is particularly useful in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Ca 19-9 is neither sensitive enough nor specific enough to be used for cancer screening in the general population. However, monitoring the levels of cancer antigen 19-9 may be useful in assessing the efficacy of treatment for pancreatic cancer and monitoring for recurrence of cancer. Higher levels of Ca 19-9 are observed in pancreatic cancerous cancers. Unfortunately, once symptoms are present and Ca 19-9 is elevated, pancreatic cancer may already be quite advanced.
Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
- Increase: Cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, cirrhosis, colorectal cancer, cystic fibrosis, gall bladder cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, liver disease, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
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