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Doctor insights on: Alpha Fetoprotein Tumor Marker

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When did alpha fetoprotein testing start?

When did alpha fetoprotein testing start?

1980's: The Alpha fetoprotein test was around when i was a resident physician. The test has progressed through the y ears such that there are four levels measured in the pregnant woman's blood looking for the risk of down's syndrome (trisomy 21), trisomy 18 & neural tube defects like spina bifida. This is called the quadruple screen best measured between 16 & weeks of pregnancy. ...Read more

Neoplasms (Definition)

"tumor" literally translates as "mass", so even a fresh bruise could be called a "tumor". Doctors use the term "neoplasm" (tranlates literally as new growth) to describe tumors that are abnormal growths of cells. These may be benign or malignant; "malignant" = cancer. In everyday usage, we use "tumor" ...Read more


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What does a low alpha fetoprotein level mean?

What does a low alpha fetoprotein level mean?

Alphafetoprotein: Very low levels of AFP measured between 16-18 weeks of pregnancy can be associated with chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, most commonly down's syndrome. Further testing by amniocentesis will rule this out. It may also b a red flag for intrauterine growth restriction and preterm birth. Will need closer observation and testing. ...Read more

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Living with a Brain Tumor (Checklist)

Eat a balanced diet
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Tell doctor about neurological changes
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Get EEG if you have lapses
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Follow doctor's advice
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I had an amniotic fluid test which showed a high concentration of alpha-fetoprotein. What does this mean?

I  had an amniotic fluid test which showed a high concentration of alpha-fetoprotein. What does this mean?

AFP in amniotic fl: If an amniocentesis is performed and AFP is detectedin the amniotic fluid, this means that the fetus has an open neural tube defect or an abdominal wall defect. Sonographic evaluation needs to confirm the abnormality. ...Read more

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What does a low alpha fetoprotein level mean?

Alphafetoprotein: Very low levels of AFP measured between 16-18 weeks of pregnancy can be associated with chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, most commonly down's syndrome. Further testing by amniocentesis will rule this out. It may also b a red flag for intrauterine growth restriction and preterm birth. Will need closer observation and testing. ...Read more

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What can cause an elevated alpha fetoprotein level?

What can cause an elevated alpha fetoprotein level?

Different diseases: In pregnancy, elevated alpha fetoprotein levels in a woman's serum can indicate fetal abnormalities, like neural tube defects (spina bifida) or ventral wall defects like omphalocele. Outside pregnancy the levels can be elevated in liver cancer or cancer of the germ cells (ovary, testes). ...Read more

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What's alpha-fetoprotein (afp) in amniotic fluid?

What's alpha-fetoprotein (afp) in amniotic fluid?

See below: AFP is a protein produced by the yolk sac and liver of a fetus. Since it is in the plasma of the fetus, it can be found in the blood of the mother. ...Read more

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What are alpha-fetoprotein tests in pregnancy for?

What are alpha-fetoprotein tests in pregnancy for?

Screening: There are now four tests (quadruple screening) looking for the risks of down's syndrome, trisomy 18 (lethal for babies) as well as neural tube defects such as spina bifida, meningomyelocele and hydrocephalus. ...Read more

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What does an elevated alpha fetoprotein in pregnancy mean?

What does an elevated alpha fetoprotein in pregnancy mean?

Increased tesing: An elevation of the Alpha fetoprotein test should alert your doctor that there may be an increased risk of genetic abnormalities such as down's syndrome in the baby. Pregnant women are offered a more detailed ultrasound test looking for signs of genetic problems & are usually offered an amniocentesis which lets you know the chromosomes of the baby. Down's is also known as trisomy 21. ...Read more

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What can cause low AFP (alpha fetoprotein) levels in a pregnant woman?

What can cause low AFP (alpha fetoprotein) levels in a pregnant woman?

Low AFP: Low AFP is associated with Down's syndrome, but some women do have a low AFP that is unexplained. At 39 you should have already been offered a level 2 ultrasound and genetic testing. If you don't feel comfortable with having an amniocentesis, a cell free dNA test can be done through your blood. ...Read more

Tumor Marker (Definition)

Example may be alpha-fetoprotein in testis. If it is there at diagnosis, and disappears, it is a reliable indicator of the tumor, and the tumor return may be heralded in a rise in the marker. Many others, cea, ca 125, ca ...Read more


Marker (Definition)

A "marker" is a protein or enzyme that can represent a disease process. Some markers are specific for a particular disease, while ...Read more