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Moderate to high levels are found in pancreatic cancer, other cancers, and in several other diseases and conditions. The highest levels of CA 19-9 are seen in cancer of the exocrine pancreas. This cancer arises in the tissues that produce food-digesting enzymes and in the ducts that carry those enzymes into the small intestine. About 95% of pancreatic cancers are of this type.
Serial measurements of CA 19-9 may be useful during and following cancer treatment. Rising or falling levels may give the doctor important information about whether the treatment is working, whether all of the cancer was removed successfully during surgery, and whether the cancer is recurring.
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