What is Alpha FetoProtein Test
AFP, which we call Alpha-Fetoprotein, is made by the liver of the fetus.
It is the main source of protein during a baby’s first three months.
It decreases as the age of the children increases and becomes less in one-year-old children. It is found in very small amounts in adults.
AFP is also a marker of many cancers, its amount increases greatly in the blood in liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, testicle cancer and cancer of the ovaries.
Although AFP is not an accurate test to diagnose a tumour or cancer, it does provide a lot of information.
Where is the AFP Test Most Used?
The AFP test is most commonly used by gastro doctors.
This test is most commonly used to monitor liver cirrhosis and hepatitis.
Apart from this, it is also used a lot in monitoring cancer.
Many times female doctors also use the AFP test to find out if there is any defect in the unborn child of pregnant women.
What the AFP Test
- Result Says Alpha-Fetoprotein Levels Normal Range. The normal value of AFP ranges from 10 ng/mL to 20 ng/mL.
- If this value comes above 400 then it means that you may have liver cancer.
- If your AFP value is increasing, it means that your cancer is spreading.
- If the value of your AFP is decreasing, it means that your treatment is going well.
- If the value of your AFP does not increase or decrease, it means that your cancer has stopped.
- If your AFP value first decreases and then starts increasing, it means that your cancer is coming back.
What other tests are done with the AFP test?
Since AFP is not able to give complete information, many more tests are also done with it like
1) Liver Function Test
2) Kidney Function Test
3) HCG Test
4) LDH Test
5) Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Tests
6) PTINR Test
What disease does AFP test positive indicate?
The AFP test is mainly used for liver patients and in some cases pregnant women. This test gives the following information
2) Liver cirrhosis
3) Liver Cancer
4) Testicle Cancer
Whereas in pregnant women it tells
1) Down syndrome
2) Ovaries cancer
3) Birth defects
Doctors do this test on pregnant women with Triple Marker (AFP, Estriol & hCG) and Quadruple Marker (AFP, Estriol, hCG and Inhibin A). To eliminate any possibility of birth defects.
It has different meanings for pregnant women
If the mother’s AFP level is high, the baby may develop birth defects such as spina bifida. This value mainly occurs when it is 2.5 times more than the normal value. On the other hand, if the value of AFP is low in pregnant women, it means that the child may have Down syndrome or Edward’s syndrome. To confirm this, the doctor then does an ultrasound.
AFP Blood Test Cost
The cost of an AFP test is close to 1000. This price may increase or decrease in each city and lab.