Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG or b-hCG) is a hormone that the placenta makes when a woman is pregnant. Certain cancer cells can also make it.
An hCG test may be done to:
The amount of hCG is usually measured by a blood test taken by a needle in the arm. It can also be measured from a urine sample. You dont need to do anything special to get ready for the test.
Your hCG levels may be higher than normal for many different reasons.
The level of hCG in your blood may be higher than normal because you are pregnant or you have a certain kind of bowel disease, a stomach ulcer or cirrhosis of the liver. Your HCG level can also be high if you smoke cannabis (marijuana).
An increased level of hCG in the blood may help your doctor diagnose:
If you have liver, stomach, pancreatic, lung, breast or skin cancer, the level of hCG in your blood may be higher than normal.
The hCG test results can help your doctor know if treatment is working:
Depending on the result, your doctor will decide if you need more tests, any treatment or follow-up care.