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lisabeth asked...

My CA 15-3 level rose from 28 to 31 in a week. My g.p did a blood test as I have severe pain on my left side at the back and have anaemia. Is a rise from 28 to 31 normal or should this be a concern?

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The Answer

Thank you for contacting us about this. At the moment your CA 15-3 is still within what is considered a normal range at the upper end. Ranges vary according to the laboratory test used and are generally either up to 32mmol or 30 mmol depending on this.  Slight fluctuations in levels can be expected and can be influenced by a variety of factors including time of day the blood is drawn, and whether there is infection or inflammation present in the body for example. You do not mention your medical history other than your current symptoms but CA 15-3 is a test more commonly used in people who are receiving breast cancer treatment to monitor their response to both therapy and progress. If you are not in this situation then the test can also demonstrate inflammation in otherwise healthy individuals or the presence of problems in the biliary tract which does not seem applicable in your case given the symptoms you have been experiencing. 

There is another more commonly used test however known as CA125,  this can detect generalised inflammation in the body and can become elevated in certain illnesses such as gynaecological conditions, it is also a tumour marker in addition. As your GP has performed the CA15-3 you may like to discuss this with him and the result. In terms of the slight fluctuation generally speaking an upward trend with no known cause in a level above the normal range or an abnormal result showing moderate to significant increases in the level outside of the range usually warrants further investigation. 

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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