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Mary27609's picture
Posts: 22
Joined: Jun 2014

I had surgery, chemo, radiation, a follow up CT scan and lots of bloodwork, but I just had my very first CA125-- mostly because I asked after reading stories here!

My chemo doctor said it's not so common for endometrial cancer (mine was IIIC1) and some insurance won't cover the test for endometrial.

Then I had an appt with my surgeon and she couldn't believe they'd never done one. She did one and it was 11.5. She was happy with that-- said anything under 35 is fine.

But now I read here and find that many of you have had lower CA125's with active cancers-- some newly diagnosed with CA125's under 10.

Can anyone explain for me? I've googled and am now even more confused.



Posts: 43
Joined: Apr 2014

Hi! I am from gyn cancer board but I can answer your question as I have faced exactly this situation. Blood work is not always indicative. Ca tests are used more as a confirmation of CT and MRI results. My CA125 in May was great but MRI showed recurrence.


I wish you the very best :)

It happened to Me's picture
It happened to Me
Posts: 206
Joined: Apr 2014

From all that I have read, it seems that the CA125 is only a good marker for certain gyn cancers.  It also might not be.  I had stage IIIA UPSC.  When I was sent to the ob/gyn onc. they did a CA125 at that time.  Mine was only 9.  At my first month after chemo. check-up, it was 5, and at 3 months it was 4 and at 6 months it was 5.  So my CA125 isn't a good marker. 

I'm surprised they didn't do a CA125 either, but different doctors have different protocols and opinions.  They will watch my CA125 and if it goes past 9, they might take notice but it's still within the "normal" range.

Don't stress over it.  Just watch for symptoms.  


Isn't this board just wonderful?   So many knowledgeable women.   There are some women on this board that will probably have a better explanation.

NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2905
Joined: Mar 2013

Miss Mary!  So good to see you again. 

I am surprised CA125s were being done on you!  It is just part of the regular blood work and I am always eager to hear what it is.  However, in the end, it is just a number.  It can go up if you have a cold or slight infection and have nothing to do with cancer.  Anything under 35 is good, but it is not a good indicator if you have cancer, or your cancer has returned. 

It is one of the tools doctors use, but they rely more on how you feel.  I know I want to know "what should I be looking for" and get anxious everytime I get the blood draw.  

Are you done with all your treatment?

Abbycat2's picture
Posts: 644
Joined: Feb 2014

Mary, it is good to hear from you again on this board!  How are you?  I have been wondering about how you have been feeling.  I have been reading a great deal about the CA 125 test and have learned that the test is a guage of what may be going on inside your body, but is not a definitive answer.  The most important use of the CA 125 is what it tells you and your doctor over a period of time. Another words, over the past three months, for example, with monthly testing, has this assay test gone from 11.5 to 18 to 36 to 75 ?If so, most docs would start paying attention and would wonder if the cancer has returned. Your CA 125 is within the normal range! That is very good news!  My doctor tells me that there are three things he evaluates: 1. How am I feeling?  2. Is my CA 125 within normal range and not changing appreciably? And 3. Is my physical exam, both internal and external normal?

I hope this helps, Mary!

Warm Wishes,



Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Mary:

I am not a good candidate for the CA-125 test.  All of my tests were in the normal range.  Although they didn't know I had cancer when they did the hysterectomy, I had to go back for surgery for staging and at that time my CA125 was a 29 I believe.  By the way, I was a Stage iiia

Even with a recurrence, my CA125 didn't come into play.

Also, I had quit having my CA125 taken because it wasn't an indicator for me.  However, last year when I started really having some problems so I had them take it this year.   It was a 14.   However, there was a note on the bottom of the test indicating that "Results reported prior to February 1, 2010 were 20 percent lower due to test change".

Further, some people can have an above normal CA125 and still not have cancer.  Inflammation can cause a rise among other things.   I know it is confusing.   Just don't base everying on a CA125.   If you are not feeling well or feel other types of symptoms, by all means have those symptoms checked out even if you have a normal CA125.

My besst to you.



Mary27609's picture
Posts: 22
Joined: Jun 2014

Thanks for all the input and advice. This board is great! I have finished treatment and had a clear CT scan and a clear MRI. My surgeon wants another scan... it's been 6 months since chemo. Some days I can't believe it. I still have to fight letting fear take over my heart, but I'm getting better at distracting myself. I'm glad I have a baseline CA125 now... thanks to everyone here!

Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

In May of 2010 when I had stage IVB UPSC, my CA-125 was 94.  I've always been amazed to read other women's stories about how theirs was in the hundreds or thousands when they had a lesser stage cancer than I had.  Mine was 6.4 in September, yet I have a small, so far unidentified, mass in my paracolic gutter that is being watched (it's too small for my GYN/onc to remove as he's not sure he can find it until it grows more).  Basically, everybody is different, and you can't put too much faith in whatever the reading of this test is.  It might mean something or it might not. 

Posts: 1575
Joined: Jun 2012

Good to hear from you again.  I'm another person for whom Ca125 doesn't seem to be a good marker.  Mine has never been elevated.  Congrats on being 6 months out from treatment.  Before you know it, you'll be celebrating a year and the whole thing will have started to fade.

Ro10's picture
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

That is what my onocologists have repeatedly told me.  The  first time I heard that was in 2009 after my sandwich treatment and radiation treatments and at my 3 month checkup.  My marker had been down to 14 during treatments, but  it raised 39 at my 3 month check up.

I never had a CA -125 done pre-op because they thought the hysterectomy would take care of everything.  I never had the marker drawn until before my second chemo.  My marker was 427.   The doctor said the surgery might make the CA -125 might be falsely elevated, so he waited until after my first chemo.

My marker continued to rise in the following months.  I felt fine with no symptoms.  18 months after my first round of chemo my CA-125 rose to 1740.  CAT scans showed growth in multiple lymph nodes.  So waiting until I showed symptoms  never works for me to know there is a recurrence.  I had 7 cycles of chemo.

Again when I went off chemo my marker began to rise.  Again I was told it is only a number.  7 months after my last chemo  my marker rose to 3240.  Still no symptoms.  CAT scan showed growth in multiple lymph nodes.

i've been off chemo for 16 months now and my marker is 1582.  still no symptoms.  Luckily the CAT scan showed only one lymph node was enlarged.  I started on Aromasin after the last chemo and it has seemed to slow the growth of the other lymph nodes.

i had the 10 treatments of the stereotactic radiation therapy.  In three months I'll know if it took  care of the lymph node.  I will be curious to see what happens with the  CA-125.

Many think they will feel different if they have a recurrence, but I never have.  I don't worry about the CA-125.....I too believe it is just a number for me.

NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2905
Joined: Mar 2013

Mary, the "fear" gradually dissipates over time, it rears its ugly head every now and then, but it does get better.  You are doing great!

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