CA-125 and TVU Tests for Ovarian Cancer From an article by David Johnson, Ph.D., and David Sandmire, M.D. with Daniel Klein
The carcinogenic antigen (CA) 125 blood test measures levels of a protein that is normally confined within a cell. Ovarian cancer cells may produce an excess of these protein molecules, and therefore the CA-125 test can help in diagnosing and monitoring this disease. It’s important to remember that simply measuring blood levels of CA-125 alone cannot effectively find early ovarian cancer. In many early-stage ovarian cancers, this molecule is not necessarily released in large amounts. In conjunction with a transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) screening, however, the CA-125 test can be very effective. A transvaginal ultrasound, also known as an endovaginal ultrasound, involves the use of sound waves to delineate internal structures. The transducer produces images that can be seen on a video monitor, and a hard copy can be made on film.
The test is completely painless and does not take much time.