2. I have a strong family history of breast cancer. Shouldn't I be screened for CA 15-3?
CA 15-3 is not recommended as a screening tool. It is not specific or sensitive enough to detect early breast cancer. Elevations in CA 15-3 may be due to other causes, and a normal value does not ensure that you do not have cancer. As a rule, it should only be used after breast cancer has been diagnosed.
There is nothing you can do directly to lower your CA 15-3 level. It is not a risk factor that can be lowered through, for example, lifestyle changes. It is a reflection of what is going on in your body. CA 15-3 may rise with tumor growth and fall with treatment, or it may be mildly elevated and stable in a benign condition.
This article was last reviewed on December 4, 2012. | This article was last modified on December 13, 2013.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
The modified date indicates that one or more changes were made to the article. Such changes may or may not result from a full review of the article, so the two dates may not always agree.