At a Glance
Why Get Tested?
CA 19-9 is used to help tell the difference between cancer of the pancreas and bile ducts and other conditions; CA 19-9 is used to monitor response to pancreatic cancer treatment and to watch for recurrence.
When to Get Tested?
When your doctor suspects that you have pancreatic cancer and during or following pancreatic cancer treatment.
A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm.
Test Preparation Needed?
The Test Sample
What is being tested?
Cancer antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) is a protein that exists on the surface of certain cells. CA 19-9 does not cause cancer; rather, it is a protein that is produced by the tumour cells, making it useful as a tumour marker to follow the course of the cancer.
CA 19-9 is elevated in most patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, but it may also be elevated in other cancers and diseases such as bowel cancer, lung cancer, gall bladder cancer, gall stones, pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, and liver disease. Very small amounts of CA 19-9 may also be found in healthy patients.
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.
Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?
No test preparation is needed.
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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.