Currently there is no recommended screening test for women at average risk of ovarian cancer. For women at high risk of ovarian cancer, such as women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, periodic tests to check for ovarian cancer may be recommended. This may include CA 125 testing.

The CA 125 test is a blood test that measures the levels of a protein called CA 125. Levels of this protein sometimes are increased in women with ovarian cancer. It’s important to know that this test has a limited ability to find ovarian cancer at an early, more treatable stage.

Test results may be normal even when cancer is present, which is called a false-negative result. There also is a high rate of false-positive results (a positive test result in someone who does not have ovarian cancer). There are ongoing studies to find an accurate and reliable screening test for ovarian cancer.

You and your ob-gyn can talk about whether you have a high risk of ovarian cancer and the risks and benefits of this test..

See Ovarian Cancer to learn more.

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Published: October 2020

Last reviewed: October 2020

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