Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone that is usually produced during pregnancy. But some types of cancer can also cause high levels of hCG.

The amount of hCG may be measured in blood or urine to see if a woman is pregnant. The test also may be done as part of a screening test for birth defects. High levels of hCG in a woman who isn't pregnant may indicate abnormal tissue growing in the uterus (molar pregnancy) or a cancer of the uterus or ovaries. High levels of hCG in a man can be sign of testicular cancer.

Last Revised: January 4, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology

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