Breast Cancer

Order our breast cancer tests to screen for blood markers CA 15.3, CA 27.29, and CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) that together may detect the presence of breast cancer. Take control and learn about your health with Ulta Lab Tests.

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CA 15-3 may be useful for monitoring patients with metastatic breast cancer and certain ovarian cancers. The CA 15-3 values from sequential samples have a high correlation with the clinical course in most patients with metastatic breast cancer.

CA 27.29 may be useful for monitoring patients for metastatic breast cancer.

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Increased serum CEA levels have been detected in persons with primary colorectal cancer and in patients with other malignancies involving the gastrointestinal tract, breast, lung, ovarian, prostatic, liver and pancreatic cancers. Elevated serum CEA levels have also been detected in patients with nonmalignant disease, especially patients who are older or who are smokers. CEA levels are not useful in screening the general population for undetected cancers. However, CEA levels provide important information about patient prognosis, recurrence of tumors after surgical removal, and effectiveness of therapy.

This test detects mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which are the most common causes of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.

This test detects 3 mutations which account for approximately 90% of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations found in Ashkenazi Jews.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) Panel is used as a screening test for various disease states including anemia, leukemia, and inflammatory processes.

A CBC blood test includes the following biomarkers: WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, Platelet count, Neutrophils, Lymphs, Monocytes, Eos, Basos, Neutrophils (Absolute), Lymphs (Absolute), Monocytes(Absolute), Eos (Absolute), Basos (Absolute), Immature Granulocytes, Immature Grans (Abs)

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported.

Reflex Parameters for Manual Slide Review
  Less than  Greater Than 
WBC  1.5 x 10^3  30.0 x 10^3 
Hemoglobin  7.0 g/dL  19.0 g/dL 
Hematocrit  None  75%
Platelet  100 x 10^3  800 x 10^3 
MCV  70 fL  115 fL 
MCH  22 pg  37 pg 
MCHC  29 g/dL  36.5 g/dL 
RBC  None  8.00 x 10^6 
RDW  None  21.5
Relative Neutrophil %  1% or ABNC <500  None 
Relative Lymphocyte %  1% 70%
Relative Monocyte %  None  25%
Eosinophil  None  35%
Basophil  None  3.50%
Platelet  <75 with no flags,
>100 and <130 with platelet clump flag present,
Instrument Flags Variant lymphs, blasts,
immature neutrophils,  nRBC’s, abnormal platelets,
giant platelets, potential interference
The automated differential averages 6000+ cells. If none of the above parameters are met, the results are released without manual review.
CBC Reflex Pathway

Step 1 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes:

  • Confirmation of differential percentages
  • WBC and platelet estimates, when needed
  • Full review of RBC morphology
  • Comments for toxic changes, RBC inclusions, abnormal lymphs, and other
  • significant findings
  • If the differential percentages agree with the automated counts and no abnormal cells are seen, the automated differential is reported with appropriate comments

Step 2 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes: If any of the following are seen on the slide review, Laboratory staff will perform a manual differential:

  • Immature, abnormal, or toxic cells
  • nRBC’s
  • Disagreement with automated differential
  • Atypical/abnormal RBC morphology
  • Any RBC inclusions

Step 3 If any of the following are seen on the manual differential, a Pathologist will review the slide:

  • WBC<1,500 with abnormal cells noted
  • Blasts/immature cells, hairy cell lymphs, or megakaryocytes
  • New abnormal lymphocytes or monocytes
  • Variant or atypical lymphs >15%
  • Blood parasites
  • RBC morphology with 3+ spherocytes, RBC inclusions, suspect Hgb-C,
  • crystals, Pappenheimer bodies or bizarre morphology
  • nRBC’s


Clinical Significance

A galectin-3 test may be ordered for the identification of individuals with chronic heart failure at elevated risk of disease progression.

Performing Laboratory 

Cleveland HeartLab, Inc 
6701 Carnegie Avenue, Suite 500
Cleveland, OH 44103-4623

PIK3CA mutation has been associated with poor prognosis in endometrial, breast and colorectal cancers. Mutations in exons 9 and 20 of PIK3CA ave also been associated with resistance to cetuximab therapy in patients with colorectal cancer.

Increased activity is associated with increased risk of arterial thrombosis, such as with unexplained premature myocardial infarction. As an acute phase reactant, the activity is increased after an acute event. Studies suggest PAI-1 may be a prognostic marker in early stage breast cancer.

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During pregnancy and postpartum lactation, serum prolactin can increase 10- to 20-fold. Exercise, stress, and sleep also cause transient increases in prolactin levels. Consistently elevated serum prolactin levels (>30 ng/mL), in the absence of pregnancy and postpartum lactation, are indicative of hyperprolactinemia. Hypersecretion of prolactin can be caused by pituitary adenomas, hypothalamic disease, breast or chest wall stimulation, renal failure or hypothyroidism. A number of drugs, including many antidepressants, are also common causes of abnormally elevated prolactin levels. Hyperprolactinemia often results in galactorrhea, amenorrhea, and infertility in females, and in impotence and hypogonadism in males. Renal failure, hypothyroidism, and prolactin-secreting pituitary adenomas are also common causes of abnormally elevated prolactin levels.

Clinical Significance

Limbic encephalitis (LE) is a paraneoplastic neurological syndrome often associated with small cell lung carcinoma and more rarely with testicular, breast, and other tumors. Clinical hallmarks of paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis are changing mental status, short-term memory impairment, seizures, confusion, and behavioral changes. Hu antibody-negative LE patients usually do not develop symptoms beyond the limbic system and appear to improve more often after treatment of the cancer than those who have Hu antibodies, suggesting that the pathogenesis of the LE in both groups could be different. Recent studies have detected antibodies to voltage-gated potassium channels (VGKC) in patients with LE, with and without associated tumors. Neurological symptoms were found to improve with a reduction of VGKC antibody levels.

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If you're reading this article as an American woman, we have a sobering statistic to share with you. Your chances of developing breast cancer at some point in your life stand at 1 in 8.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer American women are likely to develop. This highlights the utmost importance of breast cancer tests. They can screen, diagnose, and monitor breast cancer.

What's the gold standard of breast cancer screening? What are the best lab tests to use? Let's take a look at what's available.

Lab Tests for Breast Cancer

Lab tests for breast cancer identify levels of different substances in the blood. In detecting breast cancer, the three following tests are significant:

CA 15-3

Cancer antigen 15-3 is always naturally present in the blood. However, if levels are increased, this can show the presence of cancer. It is also helpful in monitoring breast cancer after treatment.

CA 27.29

Cancer antigen 27.29 is a tumor marker. Levels of this antigen can predict the likelihood of breast cancer recurring in women who have had treatment.

BRCAvantage™, Comprehensive

BRCAvantage™, Comprehensive is a proprietary test that can identify gene markers in women who have an increased risk of breast cancer. A positive result does not mean that you have cancer. It may mean that you are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. 

The Importance of Lab Tests

Breast cancer is usually diagnosed after a patient undergoes a mammogram. A patient may report breast pain or notice a lump, and a doctor may order a mammogram. At other times, a routine screening mammogram may show that further tests are needed.

Lab tests are vital in breast cancer detection. They are the only way to diagnose breast cancer accurately. A biopsy removes a sample of breast tissue for testing. If there are cancer cells present, it will show the type of cancer and the rate of growth. 

There are common types of breast cancer lab tests that your doctor will order. They are the hormone receptor test and the HER2/neu test. These tests can help to show which treatment options are most suitable for you.

What Is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when cancer forms in breast tissue. Although men can also develop breast cancer, it's far more common in women. The cancer cells divide rapidly and form a lump or mass in the breast.

A breast cancer diagnosis will also include further tests. These will check whether cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Most commonly, secondary tumor cells are found in the lymph nodes. 

It's true that breast cancer is common, but early diagnosis and treatment lead to a 99% survival rate at five years after diagnosis.

If you notice any changes in your breasts, not just lumps, it's important to go for breast cancer tests. Routine breast cancer screening can detect the disease before you have any symptoms. 

Risk Factors and Causes of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer occurs due to a number of factors. Some of the risk factors include a person's genetics. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer. 

Additionally, there are other risk factors, including:

  • being female
  • age
  • family history of breast cancer
  • exposure to radiation
  • obesity
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • drinking alcohol
  • using tobacco
  • starting period before the age of 12
  • starting menopause late
  • never having been pregnant
  • hormone replacement therapy

It's clear from this list that it's impossible to avoid many of the risk factors of breast cancer. That's why breast cancer screening is so important.

Women over the age of 40 should discuss when to start breast cancer screening with their doctor. Women between 50-74 who are at average risk should get tested every two years. 

There are some risk factors in our control. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Avoiding alcohol and tobacco will also help to reduce your risk. 

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The first signs women notice are usually changes in their breast or breasts. This could include:

  • feeling a lump or thickening
  • change in size, shape, or appearance
  • skin changes
  • nipple becomes inverted
  • changes to the areola (pigmented skin around the nipple)
  • redness or pitting of skin on the breast

If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately contact your doctor.

There are also other symptoms of breast cancer to be aware of. Symptoms include swelling in your arm, under your armpit, or around the collar bone. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these. 

With early-stage breast cancer, you may not be in pain. Lumps are often not painful. You may be suffering from tiredness, unexplained weight loss, or appetite loss.

Frequently Asked Questions about Breast Cancer and Lab Testing for Breast Cancer

Anyone with a diagnosis of breast cancer wants the best possible treatment. Breast cancer lab tests are a crucial part of ongoing breast cancer monitoring and treatment.

Some of the most frequently asked questions about breast cancer and breast cancer lab tests include:

  • What is the stage of my breast cancer?
  • What treatment options are available?
  • Has cancer spread to other parts of my body?
  • What are the side effects of cancer treatment?
  • Can lab test help to monitor my cancer?
  • When should I start screening for breast cancer?

Your doctor and specialist cancer doctor will be able to discuss these and other questions you may have with you. Lab tests are an important part of the decision-making in the early stages of treating the disease.

Breast cancer lab tests help doctors to identify certain tumor markers in the blood. This can help them to see whether cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Lab tests can also show whether the cancer is responding to treatment. They can also show whether cancer has come back. 

Having breast cancer lab tests is just the first step. To understand the tests, it's vital to review them with your doctor. They will recommend the next steps to get you on the road to recovery.

Time to Order Your Breast Cancer Tests

If breast cancer tests have shown that you have breast cancer, further help is at hand. Breast cancer lab tests are vital for doctors to ensure that you get the best treatment. They will help your doctors to monitor and treat you long-term.

What are the benefits of breast cancer lab tests from Ulta Lab Tests? Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable so that you can make informed decisions about your health.

  • Secure and Confidential Results
  • No Insurance or Referral Needed
  • Affordable Pricing including Doctor's Order
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Order your breast cancer lab test today. Your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Take charge of your health and track your progress with Ulta Lab Tests.