Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) in Blood
Why It Is Done
The AFP test is done to:
- Check the developing baby (fetus) of a pregnant woman for brain or spinal problems (called Reference neural tube defects Opens New Window). Such defects occur in about 2 out of every 1,000 pregnancies.Reference 1 The chance of a neural tube defect in a baby is not related to the mother's age. Most women whose babies have neural tube defects have no family history of these problems.
- Check the developing baby (fetus) of a pregnant woman for Down syndrome.
- Find certain cancers, especially cancer of the testicles, ovaries, or liver. But up to half of the people with liver cancer do not have high AFP levels.
- Check how well treatment for cancer is working.
- Check for liver cancer (called hepatoma) in people who have Reference cirrhosis Opens New Window or chronic Reference hepatitis B Opens New Window.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 4, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics
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