tumor marker tests

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Grains
Grains Member Posts: 27
I have had breast cancer twice. The drs said they were not related, they were 2 separate cancers. I had one 7 yrs ago and one 1 yr ago. When I go back for check ups, my doctor doesn't do any blood tests on me. Is this normal? Many of my friends who have had breast cancer say they have a tumor marker blood test every time. Should i ask about this or am I being silly?

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  • Hippiechick58
    Hippiechick58 Member Posts: 320
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    I don't know too much about
    I don't know too much about tumor markers, but it stands to reason that if you have twice had breast cancer, there should be some bloodwork involved with your visits. And no, I don't think you are being silly. It's your health and you have a right to ask for whatever it is you need.

    Remember, the squeaky door gets the oil.

    Be Well,
    Dianne
  • joannstar
    joannstar Member Posts: 403 Member
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    I've been told
    that some doctors don't use tumor markers because of false positives. Mine does use them, in fact I'm going for one today. I'm not a happy camper, though. My markers appear to be rising (31 after surgery on 8/25/10, 36 during chemo on 1/7/11 and 41 after chemo on 1/25/11). My onc says he doesn't like the upward trend so he sent me for a PET which was clear on 2/7/11. If they are still on the rise, I have to have a bone scan. When I questioned my onc he said he does have patients that can have markers up around 2000 and be a-symptomatic or down around 25 and have symptoms. So to me it seems like a real crap shoot.
    That being said, I am hoping that my markers will be down this time.
    I would ask your onc and see what he says.
    JoAnn
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
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    joannstar said:

    I've been told
    that some doctors don't use tumor markers because of false positives. Mine does use them, in fact I'm going for one today. I'm not a happy camper, though. My markers appear to be rising (31 after surgery on 8/25/10, 36 during chemo on 1/7/11 and 41 after chemo on 1/25/11). My onc says he doesn't like the upward trend so he sent me for a PET which was clear on 2/7/11. If they are still on the rise, I have to have a bone scan. When I questioned my onc he said he does have patients that can have markers up around 2000 and be a-symptomatic or down around 25 and have symptoms. So to me it seems like a real crap shoot.
    That being said, I am hoping that my markers will be down this time.
    I would ask your onc and see what he says.
    JoAnn

    markers
    When I was having chemo they did blood tests maybe every 3 weeks (I really don't remember) ... but it was mainly to check the blood count ... not markers.

    When I had my latest appt. with the oncologist I asked about the test for markers and told him I was feeling very paranoid about every ache, pain, twitch, etc. and he said he'd be glad to run the test for markers and anything else they could tell from blood work ... and also had me get a chest x-ray ... if it would help me feel more comfortable about my health. I am so thankful he was so understanding. Everything came back just fine ... and I am so lucky that my doctor understand how much our psychological well-being means to our over-all health.

    hugs.
    teena
  • Rague
    Rague Member Posts: 3,653 Member
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    I've never had a marker test
    I've never had a marker test - asked my Chemo Dr about it and he said that he doesn't use them - not reliable. My PA also said the same thing that she didn't think there was any need to run it on me - that we wouldn't learn anything new from it and they aren't all that reliable with some types of BC. She did say that she would order it if I'd feel better - Naw - if it's not reliable for me - why bother?

    I did have blood work drawn and run before each Chemo infusion - to be sure there was nothing strange going on - during the middle of Taxol, my K (potassium) levels started dropping - they are still low if I don't take my mega dose of it daily. Still have blood work (CBCAUTO diff and CMP) done each time I see him now - every 6 mths.


    Susan
  • Grains
    Grains Member Posts: 27
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    Rague said:

    I've never had a marker test
    I've never had a marker test - asked my Chemo Dr about it and he said that he doesn't use them - not reliable. My PA also said the same thing that she didn't think there was any need to run it on me - that we wouldn't learn anything new from it and they aren't all that reliable with some types of BC. She did say that she would order it if I'd feel better - Naw - if it's not reliable for me - why bother?

    I did have blood work drawn and run before each Chemo infusion - to be sure there was nothing strange going on - during the middle of Taxol, my K (potassium) levels started dropping - they are still low if I don't take my mega dose of it daily. Still have blood work (CBCAUTO diff and CMP) done each time I see him now - every 6 mths.


    Susan

    thank you so much for all
    thank you so much for all your input. I did talk to my onc. He said he didn't think it was reliable, but if it would make me feel better, he would do it. I said, yes please. I would feel better. God bless each one of you for helping me with this.
  • joannstar
    joannstar Member Posts: 403 Member
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    Grains said:

    thank you so much for all
    thank you so much for all your input. I did talk to my onc. He said he didn't think it was reliable, but if it would make me feel better, he would do it. I said, yes please. I would feel better. God bless each one of you for helping me with this.

    Quick update
    I got my tumor marker test back--23.8. WAHOO! Normal! Just found out 3/4 and celebrated all weekend. It makes me feel that the treatment worked.
    Good luck.
    JoAnn
  • Lynn Smith
    Lynn Smith Member Posts: 1,264 Member
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    joannstar said:

    Quick update
    I got my tumor marker test back--23.8. WAHOO! Normal! Just found out 3/4 and celebrated all weekend. It makes me feel that the treatment worked.
    Good luck.
    JoAnn

    Markers
    I was diagnosed with DCIS.Non invasive and the tumor was 1/2cm. Very very small.I have been seeing my oncologist for 1 1/2 years.Just recently I asked her if the blood test I get every time I go in is for markers. She said NO.Your cancer was very very small, non invasive, will not come back BUT you could get other types of breast cancer and other cancers.She said the test is not given for the type of cancer i have BUT if I want the test she will start ordering it.I want it. My friend did have a invasive Stage 3 cancer and she gets the test done annually. HEY if they can do it I want it.

    I wonder if my insurance company will pay for it.I will fight for it but if they don't I guess I will dish out the money.I want the MARKER TEST!!!!!!
  • jessiesmom1
    jessiesmom1 Member Posts: 915 Member
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    Tumor Marker Tests
    My last chemo infusion was 7 months ago. I went to see my oncologist this past Friday. While I was there I asked him about tumor marker testing as I have seen so much about it on this board. He said he does NOT offer them to his patients as a matter of routine as they are extremely unreliable. It was his opinion that there are too many false-negatives and false-positives to make them a reliable source of information. He said the "gold standard of care" is NOT to do tumor marker testing except in the rarest of circumstances. So no tumor marker testing for me.