Tumor Markers: I know a lot of doctors... - SHARE Metastatic ...

SHARE Metastatic Breast Cancer
2,721 members2,345 posts

Tumor Markers

I know a lot of doctors don't put a lot of reliance on these. Mine doesn't focus on the numbers but more of a pattern. I just had mine done and my CA 27.29 went from 60 to 70. Okay I know that is not a large jump but just discouraging. I think maybe I have my expectations set too high. It's just discouraging because I have been working so hard on lifestyle changes: diet, clean skin care and cosmetics, clean products at home, etc. I feel bad even complaining because they still seem fairly low but it was just a punch in the stomach this morning.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Kim

29 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi Kim

Ok know exactly how you feel

My markers have slowly crept up and this time I saw my oncologist she didn’t tell me them..said she’d not received the report..I think she just wasn’t telling me as I obsess over them

The time before she discussed my case with a colleague and they both agreed no change in meds yet as ct showed stable bone mets and pleural effusion gone

Don’t get panicked by markers though it’s hard it to

Barb xx

Reply

Thanks Barb. I'm trying to stay grounded. It's just so surreal feeling sometimes. I feel perfectly fine physically. No symptoms of any kind. Of course emotionally I have more symptoms. I am still waiting for the other test result. Not sure why that didn't come in at the same time. And of course my doctor is on vacation until next week. Going to try not to worry and I have a feeling he won't be as the increase wasn't that much. Ugh - why can't it just go away.

Kim :)

Reply

It will never go away!!

I’ve had to resort to antidepressants and take painkillers all the time..I was a different person a year ago and can’t believe how horrible my life has become

I’ve just woken up and saturated with sweat and my sheets feel disgusting

What’s crap life

Barb xx

Reply

Oh trust me I am on antidepressants also, but then I was before this last diagnosis. I started a trial about this time last year and they had to switch the antidepressant I had been on for 13 years. I had to quit the trial because of the side effects and I am still working on getting the right dosage again of the meds that will also help with the anxiety and the depression. So cliche but just trying to take one day at a time and not try and be a fortune teller and predict the future. That causes me anxiety.

Kim

Reply

Hi Barb. Just curious what time of day do you take your Letrozole? I used to take mine the same time as my Ibrance and since it needs to be with food it was generally at lunchtime. Then on my week off of Ibrance I was scared that I might forget to take the Letrozole so I took it with my morning supplements. I noticed that I seemed to have less night sweats so now I take it early in the day all the time. Just a thought.

Sandra

Reply

Hi Sandra

I take Ibrance about 6 pm and letrazole 9pm..maybe I could change the time...will ponder..thanks for that suggestion

Barb xx

Reply

You're welcome. Those night sweats are horrible I agree. My poor husband...it's frigid cold here and I still have 2 fans going in the bedroom all the time. I have found the change in time I take it helps though so worth a shot. We all have to navigate this journey together.

Sandra

Reply

Yes I’ll try that..I don’t suppose it matters taking the next days dose 12 hours earlier just the once when changing to an earlier time

Thought I’d take the letrazole in the morning and Ibrance at teatime as usual

Barb xx

Reply

It has a really long half-life of around 48 hours so I wouldn't worry but if possible you could stagger the change over 2 days.

Sandra

Reply

Good plan.. I’ll take it earlier with the Ibrance as an experiment..then as you say..stagger the times

Clever of you to think of that

Barb xx

1 like
Reply

When I was on tamoxifen I had dreadful hot flushes and night sweats, changing brands and the time of day I took it made a huge improvement. I have also found that I get more hot flushes when i’m dehydrated.

1 like
Reply

I get it. Markers, scans, bloodwork etc. Sometimes the waiting and anxiety is overwhelming! Jeez

2 likes
Reply

My 15-3 marker has gone from 42 to 35 to 44 to 37 to 48 (should be 30 or less). My onc says markers are only one of many indications of cancer. They can go up or down over time. She doesn't pay much attention to them so I don't either.

Reply

Mine says the same thing and looks for more of a pattern. According to my oncologist the volume of cancer in my liver is small and he is happy with where I am. I guess I should be too but sometimes my head just screws with me!!

Reply

Hi

The lowest mine have been was 118 down from over 1000... now 157...talk about extreme..

Barb XX

Reply

Kim,

I can relate. No matter what my oncologist says about markers (she also does not pay much attention to them and didn't even order them for my last blood work), I still look at them and read both good and bad about my situation into the numbers. Without the markers, all we have are the scans. It's just so hard for all of us having to wait months for scans to know if treatment is working or not.

2 likes
Reply

Kim, my cancer markers have always remained in the normal range even before surgery. Dr. Khong doesn't think they work on me. They aren't reliable on a lot of folks. Blessings, Hannah

Reply

Thanks Hannah. I have read enough to know they aren't always reliable. I have to keep telling myself that. :)

1 like
Reply

I guess they aren’t always reliable so have to keep that in mind.

Reply

Hi Kim. I can certainly relate. My oncologist also says that she doesn't pay much attention to individual results but looks for trends. I used to obsess about the result and not really sure why as I'm not sure it was ever a good indicator of anything for me. The way the lab does the CA 15-3 where I live they are batched and only done every couple of weeks so usually when I get my result it is from my previous months labs. I just got mine last week from labs in January. My result was 20 which is good. However does it make me more relaxed about things …not at all. However if I get a good scan at least I feel like I can breath for at least a little while. So I have decided not to obsess about them anymore.

Sandra

Reply

Good advice. I usually get my results in about 3-4 days. I know mine aren't horrendously high but I really just wanted them to go down. I am better today and am just trying to focus on my blessings and not letting cancer consume me. Sometimes easier said than done.

Kim

Reply

My markers are in the 3000 so all of you with markers under 200 I want you to please be thankful and enjoy each day they stay that way

Reply

I know I should be grateful and I am. I really didn’t realize markers could be that high and hope I didn’t sound like I’m whining. Thanks for the reminder to be thankful and I wish you the best.

2 likes
Reply

You didn't sound at all like you were whining I'm just letting you know your markers are pretty good!

1 like
Reply

Thanks - I guess they are. My doctor says he focuses more on the trend than the number so I guess going up just kind of bummed me out. I guess its only 10 points. He is not concerned and we are continuing on the same treatment. :)

Reply

Today my orthopedic oncologist asked what my markers were, and my oncologist has never shared them with me. I don't even know what markers are. Am I looking for a particular test in my bloodwork or is it something else?

Any advice you could give me about markers and their use would be appreciated.

Thanks so much!

hope4mbc

Reply

Usually most oncologists check either CA 15-3 or CA 27.29 and I think most use them just as a small gauge in what is going on with your cancer. I think we as patients put far more weight in them than do our oncologists. Generally they monitor how you feel and scan results as the higher priority. Some don't monitor them at all. You can check out the links below if you want some more information but perhaps better to just address the question to your regular oncologist.

Sandra

oncolink.org/cancers/breast...

cancer.net/research-and-adv...

Reply

Yes they are something that is tested through your bloodwork. I would ask your oncologist if they test for them. Some do and some don’t as I understand they aren’t always reliable. I think they are basically tests that show that you have cancer or that it is metastized. My oncologist looks for a trend rather than the actual number.

Kim

1 like
Reply

Thanks Sandra and Kim! I have an appointment next week with my oncologist so I will be sure to ask.

hope4mbc

1 like
Reply

You may also like...