Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Test
Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Test FAQ
What is an AFP test?
Why is an AFP test important?
Is any special preparation needed for an AFP test?
What type of specimen will I submit?
Do I need to fast to take this test?
How long does it take to get test results?
Accesa Labs does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All users should consult with a medical provider for specific health concerns.
AFP Blood Test - More Information
The AFP test, also known as the AFP lab test and the alpha-fetoprotein test, measures the AFP blood level.
AFP, as the name suggests, is a protein that is typically found in fetuses. Produced by the yolk sac in the fetus, it functions as a carrier protein in the fetal plasma. The function of AFP in the fetus is largely unknown and levels drop quickly after birth. In pregnant women, AFP levels are sometimes used to screen for neural tube defects and other fetal abnormalities.
AFP blood levels have also been found to be associated with specific types of tumors in adults. Liver tumors, yolk sac tumors and germ cell tumor all show elevated AFP blood levels. In this capacity, the AFP test may be useful as a tumor marker for general screening or tracking the progress of a known tumor. AFP testing is not useful as a tumor marker in pregnant women.
Getting an AFP test near you at a Quest Diagnostics lab is relatively straightforward. After ordering online and getting your blood drawn, your AFP results will be sent to you electronically when available. As demonstrated on the sample report in the link above, results will appear as a numerical value in the results column. On the AFP sample results above, a result of 1.4 ng / mL is reported compared to the lab's AFP reference range of <6.1.
AFP blood levels cannot be used in isolation as absolute evidence of the presence or absence of a disease and all results should be evaluated in conjunction with a licensed medical provider.
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