Tumour Marker up!!!!

Hopes_and_DreamsHopes_and_Dreams Gold CoastMember Posts: 750
I had a blood test last Saturday in readiness for my 1st anniversary checks and scans.  I got a call back yesterday to visit my GP.
I tried to be positive l and hope he just wanted to discuss my vitamin D or calcium levels (yeah, right!) but as soon as I walked into the surgery he said that my tumour marker was up from last time.
When I was diagnosed on 20 July they were 35, down to 25 in January for my 6 mth blood test, but back up to 36 this week.
He asked whether they usually fluctuate but I haven't had enough done to have a pattern yet.   He said it may be nothing but wants to be cautious.  
I was already booked in for a mammogram and ultrasound Friday 18/8 anyway and an appointment with my cancer surgeon Tuesday 22/8.   Depending on the results next week, I'll go back to my oncologist for further review.   
I didn't need chemo or radiation last year as I had a mastectomy with clear margins and clear lymph nodes (grade 1, 13mm IDC)
I feel OK and am just trying to keep a calm and logical head at the moment, but the fear is lurking just under the surface.  I don't want it to bubble over!    I've heard that tumour markers can be unreliable...
Just when I hit 12 months and thought I could relax a little, another kick comes out of the blue.  And even if everything is fine this time, how do I ever trust my body and not think about the cancer coming back.  I thought it was just the anniversaries which were going to cause anxiety!  I think this has just hit home that I am going to worry forever!   Jane xx



  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,642

    Tumour markers are not a very reliable diagnostic tool. Ten years ago my much loathed oncologist used to request them and it literally used to make me feel sick. In the end I stopped having the test and sacked the oncologist. The lovely guy I'm seeing now says (imagine a Cuban accent) 'No, no tumour markers. They make everyone crazy.'

    There are, of course, situations where that test is really useful but, thankfully, it seems to have fallen out of fashion now. Primarily because it is so unreliable. If you have a look through here you will find stories of women with colds having their markers go through the roof, people with high scores tested and probed and zapped and found to have no detectable cancers. On the other end of the scale, I had a whopping great tumour recurrence and my markers on diagnosis were well within normal range.

    This shit is so stressful, Jane. Hang in there and wait until your oncologist has their two bobs worth. If it is doing your head in, or likely to, make an appointment to see them anyway--it is their department. Good luck with the rest of it, it's a jungle out there, we just have to do the best we can. Marg xxx

  • Hopes_and_DreamsHopes_and_Dreams Gold CoastMember Posts: 750
    thanks so much Marg, you have made me feel much better.  I just needed a logic kick - big breath and tackle whatever is waiting head on.  Not much choice is there :)   Jane xx
  • UnicornkissesUnicornkisses Central CoastMember Posts: 395
    Okayyyy. I don't think I have ever had tumour markers done? What sort of test is it? I was under the impression it had to do with metastatic cancer, am I wrong?
  • socodasocoda LeumeahMember Posts: 1,654
    Hey Jane, I've never had a marker level done and like Marg said, and  from what I've learnt about them they can fluctuate with colds, flu etc. I wouldn't be stressing about them, sounds like your gp is just erring on the side of caution. I think it's great he's being that cautious - doesn't really help your nerves much though. Big hug lovely, all the best. Xx
  • Hopes_and_DreamsHopes_and_Dreams Gold CoastMember Posts: 750
    @Unicornkisses, it was just one of the tests he ran in my blood test along with hormone levels (which were really low!).
    I believe it is just a possible  indicator that there may be breast cancer somewhere.  Having had breast cancer before, I now have a 1 in 6 risk of it returning in the other breast, though this is a little reduced by taking a hormone blocker.
    Thanks @Socoda, I wish I'd never had the bloody thing done and just waited for my ultrasound next week.  Hug gratefully taken!  Jane xx
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,284
    Hugs and best wishes to you as I try and send positive vibes xx
  • TonyaMTonyaM Member Posts: 2,523
    Hi Jane, elevated tumour markers can be from other problems like Endometriosis for example. Mine  was high once and it was from a benign ovarian cyst.I still get my t marker checked because if it's low I feel relieved - if it's high,then it's an indication to investigate abit more. I don't get it checked every year- maybe every 2nd or if needed. Maybe it's a false sense of security for me but hey,I'll take it. Try and stay neutral.Good luck.xx
  • Hopes_and_DreamsHopes_and_Dreams Gold CoastMember Posts: 750
    thank you @iserbrown.  Such a blessing to have the support of this forum xx
    That's good advice @TonyaM, I guess the trick is not reading too much into it at this stage! xx
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,642

    Don't go there @Unicornkisses (unless you have to) The test, from memory, doesn't test for cancer cells as such, but looks at proteins that the body can produce when cancer is present. Or that some cancers can produce. Something like that. The catch is, the production of those proteins can be triggered by other conditions. Someone with better science may be able to give a better explanation. Better still, ask your oncologist.

    Back in the day when I first became aware of it it was a very popular marker test for men who had advanced prostate cancer and were trialing novel therapies. From there it seemed to be used as an indication that someone was checking on your cancer status. Just waive a bit of science--appropriate or not--get a guy with a coat involved, that should be reassuring. No?

    My first oncologist, the Arsehole, used to put this little pause in before they'd tell me what the readings were. Imagine a reality TV host milking the reveal for all they can get...."And the winner is.......We'll be back right after this message from our sponsors"  Put me right off, it did.

  • Molly001Molly001 Member Posts: 412
    Hi Jane, from others advice, sounds like you should not worry & wait for your ultrasound, which is a much more reliable test. Easier said than done once that seed's been planted, but hopefully you can relax a bit knowing tumor markers are not reliable. All the best for your upcoming tests & appts. xxoo
  • Hopes_and_DreamsHopes_and_Dreams Gold CoastMember Posts: 750
    Thanks Molly, I might try and bring the ultrasound and mammogram forwards.  I don't want to wait that long now xx
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,116
    Great news.
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,284
    Great news - and yes scanxiety is real!  Woo hoo!
  • HulosHulos Member Posts: 94
    Thats great news,..xxx
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