AFP

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The Alpha-Fetoprotein test is a test used to detect levels of Alpha-Fetoprotein in the sample. This test is usually a part of the triple-screen or quad-screen test conducted during the second trimester of pregnancy. Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) is a protein that is produced by the liver of the developing fetus. During pregnancy, this Alpha-Fetoprotein passes through the placenta into the maternal blood. Therefore, high or low levels of AFP in the maternal blood indicate a congenital disability in the fetus. Neural tube defects, a severe medical condition that causes abnormal growth and development of the baby’s brain and/or spine is a congenital disability that is detected with the Alpha-Fetoprotein test. Down syndrome is another genetic disorder detected with the Alpha-Fetoprotein test. It can cause intellectual disabilities and delays in the baby’s development. AFP levels are high when the baby is born and continue to fall to very levels by the time the baby turns 1. Alpha-Fetoprotein levels drop drastically in healthy adults. The Alpha-Fetoprotein test for adults helps measure the levels of AFP in their blood. This test acts as a tumor marker for various cancers like testicular cancer, ovarian cancer and non-cancerous conditions like liver cirrhosis and hepatitis. Tumor markers are substances that your body cells produce in response to cancer in the body. High levels of AFP indicate the presence of cancer. The Alpha-Fetoprotein test cannot be used as a diagnostic test for cancer. But it helps diagnose cancer when combined with other specific diagnostic tests. This test also helps monitor cancer treatment effectiveness and check for any cancer relapse after treatment is over.

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