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The CA-125 blood test is used to monitor women with ovarian cancer. Because CA-125 is a protein found more in ovarian cancer cells than it is in other cells, it is a reliable indicator of whether a patient is clear of cancer after treatment. However, the CA-125 blood test should not be used to test normal women for ovarian cancer.
In a woman who is free of ovarian cancer, a high level of CA-125 does not necessarily mean she has ovarian cancer. While it can indicate the presence of ovarian cancer or another type of cancer, it can also signal the presence of a benign condition like endometriosis. Therefore, it is not advisable to use the CA-125 blood test as a general screener for ovarian cancer.