Because the symptoms in the early stages of ovarian cancer are vague and tend to go unrecognized, diagnosis of the disease in the early stages—when it is most curable—is difficult. Although there is currently not a screening test available for ovarian cancer, a recent breakthrough has led to the discovery of a new way to help better predict the risk of malignancy.
For more than 20 years, the CA125™ test has been the gold-standard test used by doctors to monitor patients with any symptoms or risk factors of ovarian cancer. CA125 is a protein that is more prevalent in ovarian cancer cells. However, even though its level is elevated in about 80% of women with ovarian cancer, not all elevations of CA 125 indicate a malignancy. This is because CA125 can also be elevated in non-cancerous conditions, such as menstruation, endometriosis, pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, and benign ovarian cysts. Therefore, there has long been a need for a more specific and precise way to detect the presence of ovarian cancer.