Cancer Antigen 19-9 Blood Test

Cancer Antigen 19-9 Blood Test

The CA 19-9 blood test is used to detect and monitor pancreatic or gastrointestinal cancer.  The blood test measures a number of proteins produced by the cancer cells. The CA 19-9 test is most often used by oncologists to monitor the effectiveness of cancer treatments and to help detect the reoccurrence of cancer. While it is a useful test it is not designed to differentiate between cancers.

Who Should Have The CA 19-9 Blood Test

The blood test is effective when the CA 19-9 is elevated and that is how it tracks treatment and progression of the cancer. CA 19-9 blood testing can also be used in patients with a suspected bile duct obstruction, because the level elevates. Other conditions involving the bile ducts can also increase the levels of the CA 19-9, so it is a good marker for other conditions of the bile ducts. Symptoms that lead to CA 19-9 blood tests are nausea, weight loss, jaundice and abdominal pain.

Levels & Ranges Of The CA 19-9 Blood Test

A normal range of the CA 19-9 blood test is less than 40 U/mL. Small amounts of CA 19-9 can be found in the blood work of healthy individuals. Individuals with an elevated level can generally be further tested for the following conditions; pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, bile duct obstructions, cystic fibrosis or liver disease.