CA 19-9 is not sensitive or specific enough to be recommended as a screen for people who do not have symptoms. There are too many false positives and false negatives associated with it. Researchers are looking for other markers that may help detect pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage and that may be more suitable for screening.
2. What other procedures will my doctor likely order along with CA 19-9?
Your doctor may order a CT scan (computed tomography), an ultrasound, an MRI scan to look at the pancreatic and bile ducts, an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, a procedure in which a small lighted tube is passed through the mouth and stomach into the duodenum and then into the bile and pancreatic ducts), and/or a biopsy to look for cancer cells under the microscope.
3. What are the main risk factors for pancreatic cancer?
Doctors still do not know what causes most cases of pancreatic cancer. Identified risk factors include smoking, age (most are over 50 years old), sex (males are more likely to have it than females), family history, diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, and heavy occupational exposure to certain chemicals and dyes.
This article was last reviewed on November 29, 2012. | This article was last modified on February 24, 2015.
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