I’m way behind on these, so please be patient as I catch up on “Ask Endochick” posts. As always, if you have something to contribute, leave a comment! You never know who you may help.
Does the CA-125 test check for endo? My friend said I can do that and not the surgery. I searched and see it also tests for cancer and endo?!? Will my doctor know which I have?
You are not the only one confused. While popular, the belief that the CA-125 blood test is a one-stop shop diagnostic tool (or a way to tell if you have a particular disease) for endometriosis is false. Although, women think a blood draw will give them a definitive “yes” or “no.”
Above all, CA-125 measures an inflammatory protein called glycoprotein. Cancer causes inflammation, so does endometriosis. Because the blood test measures all available tumor marker in your blood, it can’t tell endometriosis from cancer cells. Unless the marker counter is really high, in which case you’ll most likely be sent to a gynecological oncologist, you’ll be faced with treating symptoms or confirming with surgery.
A high CA-125 value can indicate you have endometriosis, assuming you’re having symptoms that suggest the disease, like pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea (painful periods) and/or menorrhaghia (heavy bleeding). And know a low result doesn’t put you in the clear, especially if you’re symptomatic. In the end, you and your doctor may decide a laparoscopy is the appropriate , plan of care.
Going through with the blood test is a personal decision. However, your insurance company may require it as part of the “exhaust all non-surgical intervention” phases before they will approve a diagnostic laparoscopy.