Tests carried out by a GP

Physical examination

The first thing your GP will want to do is take a look at your stomach area to feel for any lumps and bumps. They may also suggest an internal vaginal examination to see if there are any lumps around your womb or ovaries. 

These examinations will normally take place in your GP surgery.

CA125 blood test

After a physical examination your GP will want to take a blood sample to test your levels of the protein CA125.

All women have the protein CA125 their blood but higher than normal levels can be a sign of ovarian cancer.

A CA125 blood test can be carried out at your GP surgery by your GP or practice nurse.  The blood sample will be sent to the lab for testing and results will be returned to your GP after a short period.

A blood test showing high levels of CA125 is not conclusive evidence that you have ovarian cancer.

Some women have naturally high CA125 levels and there are other less serious conditions that can also increase CA125 levels in the blood.

This means that the CA125 blood test can be used as an indicator to refer you for further tests.

Questions to ask your GP:

  • When will I receive my CA125 test results?
  • If they don’t come in that specified time who should I call to find out my results?
  • What is my actual CA125 level? (A level over 35 IU/ml requires further investigation)
  • If your results are over 35IU/ml and your doctor has not arranged an ultrasound, you should ask why and for them to arrange one.
  • Do CA125 levels change over time?

You can download our leaflet about diagnosing ovarian cancer.