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Do you think stress can affect tumor markers?

Just wondering what the opinions on this are. My CA2729 tends to bounce around a bit and my results from last week show that it's up again, a little higher than my norm. I was very stressed out about personal issues when I had the blood drawn, and have a feeling that despite what the doctors might say, stress might affect the tumor markers. Curious what others think.

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I don’t know, I believe stress affects everything and all illnesses. So I’m on the same page of your thought process. With that said, my doctor at Lumbardy doesn’t even check tomorrow markers because he said they’re not accurate and just frightening the most important thing is your neutrophils which are your bone marrow baby white cells trying to begin and grow, your hemoglobin which carries oxygen From your bone marrow to your cells, and your platelets are obviously important for bleeding or clotting. I don’t really worry about too many other things on my blood work.

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I've been dealing with mbc for a tad over 14 years and my CA 27-29 has bounced around alot during times of cancer stability. My onc had said that TMs are "not precise." I take that to mean that we could have them tested on two days in a row and there would be some variation. I've gone to quite a few bc conferences and heard several oncs mention that a number of onc either do not use TMs at all or only use them with patients who have bone mets only as those tend to be more difficult to track with scans. And the number 1 reason that oncs don't use them is that they cause alot of unneeded anxiety. We (my onc and I) use them mostly to decide when to scan. She pays most attention to how I feel, scans next and TMs a very distant third. There are things besides cancer progression that can cause them to rise. I have not heard of anxiety being one of them, but they can rise from other things going on with our bodies. I am a long term survivor, considered an "exceptional responder" but my CA 27-29 had only been in the "normal" range for a couple of years in all the time I've been dealing with this lousy cancer. If I allowed them to influence how I feel emotionally, I'd have had much worse quality of life!

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Thank you. I sometimes wish my oncologist didn't test for tumor markers, as it does cause me a lot of anxiety.

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You could ask to not be given those results. It really is okay.

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That's an interesting thought to consider. I'm not sure that I would be comfortable with that either, but something to think about!

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Lumbardy Georgetown says the same thing about markers and doesn’t do them., At least on a regular basis. I have no idea what my markers are but I followed my blood work very closely. So I guess from what everybody says I wouldn’t worry that much about them. Of course it’s easy to say not to worry we will make her so it’s crazy

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You are very knowledgeable, are you a Dr. or Nurse?

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It will be 5 years in July that I have had mbc and my onc almost never does blood testing.

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Wow, Barb! Which tests does your oncologist run and how often? Do you get scans?

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I thought I read it wrong! No blood work or maybe markers she is taking about. With me every 2 weeks or I with a 500 Neutrophils I would not be here if kept on Ibrance with no blood work.

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Me too... But have in spine and hard to detect on reg scans. Mostly only pet shows bone lesions to the fullest. My scan just says bones show end plate at multiple levels, reactive to disc disease. So I think that’s why I get markers done.

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May I ask what exactly you mean by an exceptional responder? Does that mean your response to treatment was faster or better compared to most people?

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Exceptional responder is what those of us who live a long time with mbc are called--I don't know exactly how long one has to live to be considered "exceptional" but I have been living with mbc for over 14 years. Both the genetic counselor I spoke with and my onc suspect that my family carries some gene that helps us live long with advanced cancer as my paternal grandmother and one first cousin on that side of my family did unusually well with cancer, too, one with endometrial cancer (in the 1950s) and one with colon cancer (in the 1970s). I have not done anything unusual to treat mbc, just the standard hormonal treatment plus bone meds since I have bone mets only.

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Thanks. That's great to hear that you've done so well. I hear bone met patients can do well. I'm just starting out and unfortunately have several nodes to my left lung. Not sure my prognosis is as good as those with bone met. Feeling a bit overwhelmed these days.

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Hi Mcap. I to have heard that people with mets to bones do better than those of us with mets in our organs but I have learned that everyone and every situation is different. I have mets to my liver since June 2016 and so far (knock on wood) I am doing okay. I have also heard of other women doing well for many years with mets to their liver, lungs, and stomach. Just wanted to send some encouragement your way.

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Thank you for the words of encouragement. I can use them right now. I have my first scans in about two weeks to see if the ibrance is working.

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Good luck and keep us posted!

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Yes my liver is clear now, so don’t worry it can rejuvenate. Please don’t worry we’ll I mean mine was all doom and gloom because of liver Mets and lung. My lung is what I worry most of. Bones you can live a long time. But most everyone here has been doing great and new drugs coming out all of a sudden. Please let us know about your scan I will say a double prayer for you. 🙏❤️

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Wow wow and wow 😮. You are truly blessed and I wish you another 14 plus years.

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Hey, yeah I have spine Mets so he does the 27-29. When I first got the test last year it was 817... I freaked out as that’s me. Now down to 427 after Doxil. I need to find away to relax. Any suggestions? 👍

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I love the Cancer CD (also iPod download) by Belleruth Naparstek. She uses guided imagery and has a very soothing voice. I heard this at a BC retreat, googled her name and ordered it on line. After using this CD before scans, I would have normal blood pressure when I checked in--before getting the CD, my bp would be pretty high. I find her voice really soothing. The passage of time has helped me alot. too. I was alot more scared the first year or so than I am now.

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I am with u and believe that stress causes a lot of issues with our health and it is hard not to be stressed out with this illness and our issues in our personal lives! My tumor markers bounce around and my doctor also goes by any new symptoms and scans. I wish they would not go them.

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Yes Epinto, I remember you recently went through a scare with an elevated tumor marker, as did I in December. It had gone back down the following month, and I'm hoping the same will happen this time. I thought of asking my oncologist if we could do them every other month or even every three months, because I feel like I'm living month to month. I used to have an agreement with my oncologist where he would only call with results if something was wrong, but I think if I went back to that, I'd still he living in fear of that phone call! Also, I was extemely stressed at the time of the test last week over my family's lack of support, which is for another post, but I think I could have been upset enough to have affected the tests .

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I stay at the hospital right after I had my blood drawn and wait for the results to be handed to me in hardcopy every time I go. I refuse to be sitting in waiting on anybody or anything when it’s my body. I feel more confident and more control that way when I am concerned I send an email into mycology nurse for her to ask the doctor. But now that I’m going into my fourth month I’ve taking I Brandts I’m a lot more comfortable with the drug and the process than I was in January

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I wish I could wait for my bloodwork results! I have to either call my doctor or look in the lab portal 3-5 day later. Usually the portal has them before my doctor. I could wait for the tests they do in the office such as cbc's but they send the tumor marker tests out to the lab.

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Yes, I’m fortunate because I’m at Georgetown Hospital and they do their labs right there and very quickly. They don’t send anything out. If I’m just getting the general account and not all of space other specifics I often have to only wait about 15 minutes. If I have more detailed blood I could be waiting up to an hour. But I am happy to do that as the doctors are so busy They don’t see them right away sometimes it’s a few days before I get a response from them and I already know what I have. Of course they only notify me of my neutrophils are in a dangerous zone

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Whether it makes that much difference or not, I’m not sure but I feel like at that point at least I know where I stand and maybe I can do some other nutritional things, along with safety procedures right away to help change and make the blood a little bit better

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My oncologist doesn't use tumor markers for the above reasons of anxiety and lack of accuracy.

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I have had MBC for 10 years and have had many chemotherapies before Ibrance was available. I also was on Afinitor with Letrozole for 3 years. I tried Ibrance with letrozole and with Faslodex but Ibrance did not work for me. Mu scan showed lesions in my bones so we will discuss next step when I see my oncologist next week. My oncologist does use the tumor marker test CA27.29 but we do not look at the numbers so much as the rise. In past years when there is a big leap in the number going up I have a CT scan or PET scan and usually we will see cancer growth. This is what happen this time for me, also!

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My tumor marker had been pretty stable for 2 years. Then it was a continual climb, and inc kept watching and saying not to worry. It started doubling. Finally 7 months later did a ct and it showed nothing, but the bone scan showed 3 new active dots to the bones. So it would seem mine has been fairly accurate. Just finished radiation on one spot and new meds if ibrance and Faslodex.

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