The alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test is for evaluating the Alpha-fetoprotein levels in your body. The AFP test is usually done during pregnancy to check whether the fetus is growing healthy. This test also helps to decide the best treatment for certain types of cancers like liver cancer and ovarian cancer.
The article below covers all the relevant topics of the AFP test like the AFP test cost, what is an AFP test, AFP test for pregnancy, normal AFP levels, test preparation, procedure, and how to get tested for AFP.
- AFP Test Cost.
- What is an AFP Test for?
- Why is an AFP Test done?
- AFP Test in Pregnancy.
- What are the normal AFP levels?
- How is the AFP test done?
- Is there any preparation required before the test?
- Are there any risks to the test?
- What does the test result mean?
- Provider Locations.
For our readers who are more interested in knowing the AFP test cost beforehand, we would like to begin with that section.
How much does the AFP test cost?
Alpha-fetoprotein, AFP test cost ranges between $44 and $71 in different labs and facilities across the U.S. No prior appointment is required. Compare the price, order your test online and visit the nearest lab during lab business hours. Complete the procedure and get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days.
The following table shows the AFP test cost at 3 of our partner laboratories (CLIA – Certified) network located across the U.S.
Name of our Partner Labs
AFP test cost with insurance
Most of the health insurance policies in the U.S. cover the cost of the AFP test. However, the coverage offered by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid varies widely. So we recommend you to check the coverage of your plan with the insurance company before getting tested.
Our AFP testing providers do not accept any health insurance plan. But, on request, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is an AFP test?
AFP refers to alpha-fetoprotein. AFP blood test measures the levels of Alpha-fetoprotein in the blood in healthy adults. It is a plasma protein produced by the immature liver cells in a fetus. Generally, the AFP levels are very high when the baby is born but drop to very low levels by the age of 1. It is also produced whenever the liver cells are regenerating and elevated with chronic liver diseases and certain types of tumors.
Why is an AFP test done?
An AFP blood test is done to measure the level of AFP in the blood. This test is also used as a tumor marker as it helps in diagnosing certain types of cancer such as liver cancer, ovarian cancer, or testicular cancer. Your physician will order the AFP blood test for the following reasons.
- To confirm or rule out a diagnosis of liver cancer, ovarian cancer, or testicular cancer.
- To decide the best treatment for cancer.
- For monitoring the effectiveness of ongoing cancer treatment.
- To check the recurrence of cancer after treatment.
- To monitor the health of people with chronic liver conditions such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.
AFP Test for Pregnancy
AFP test in pregnancy is done to check for birth defects in an unborn baby. It is very important for pregnant women who are at higher risk of having children with birth defects. The risk factors might include women
- Older than 35 years of age
- Having a family history of birth defects
- Who had harmful medications during their pregnancies
- Having diabetes
What are the normal AFP levels?
The normal AFP levels in adults are less than 10ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter). AFP test normal range in pregnancy is between 10ng/ml to 150ng/ml, the levels gradually increase from 14th week till the 32nd week of the pregnancy.
How is the AFP test performed?
During this test, a lab technician or a phlebotomist will cleanse the area to be injected with an antiseptic liquid and wrap an elastic band around the upper arm to make the vein visible and swell with blood. He/she then injects a needle to draw a sample of blood and collects the sample in a test tube. The collected blood sample is then sent to the laboratory for further testing.
It takes less than 5 to 10 minutes to perform this test.
Is there any preparation required before the test?
There is no special preparation required for an AFP blood test. But your physician may ask you to stop certain supplements such as biotin supplements for 24 hrs before the test as they can result in an inaccurate diagnosis.
Are there any risks to the test?
There are no possible risks or complications in the AFP blood test. But sometimes after the blood sample is drawn, you might feel dizziness, slight pain, bruise, soreness, or redness in the injected area for a very little period.
What does the APF test result mean?
If your test results show higher levels of AFP, it can indicate the possibility of the following conditions.
- Liver cancer, ovarian cancer, or testicular cancer
- Noncancerous liver disorders
- A neural tube defect in the fetus (if you are pregnant)
- Cancer treatment is ineffective and it has spread to other parts of the body (if you are undergoing cancer treatment)
- Recurrence of cancer (if you have taken the test after treatment)
If the levels of AFP are unusually low in a pregnant woman, it might indicate that there is some chromosomal abnormality in the unborn baby such as Down syndrome or Edwards syndrome.
If appropriate and necessary, your physician might also order follow-up tests or additional tests to rule out and confirm the diagnosis.
AFP tests can be done in any of the following states either at the provider’s location or home. To know the AFP test cost in these locations, refer to the first section of this article.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
Will insurance cover my testing cost?
No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.
How should I book my appointment?
You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.
Can I cancel my lab test order?
Yes, you can cancel your lab test order anytime before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.
Do the providers offer result interpretations?
Yes, a few providers may provide doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.
How do I receive my report?
To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.
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