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Tumor Markers

Posts: 166
Joined: Sep 2002

I'm looking for a tumor marker expert. What does Ca 27.29 and Ca15.3 measure, since benign, inflammatory conditions can rasie the levels of these markers, too. Treatment decisions based on markers...are these valid? Has anyone in the universe stayed on Tamoxifen in spite of rising tumor markers and remained cancer-free? Where is the data on this since Tamoxifen has been around for twenty years?
One onc told me you could have tumor markers of 2000 and still might not find a tumor! Is he kidding? Are tumor markers valid enough to use a potent drug to lower them when you don't show a tumor? Does anyone understand what I'm asking here?

Posts: 13
Joined: Apr 2002

I understand part of your questions. There is a good website I found that explains the different tumor markers, etc. It's www/buildingbetterhealth.com/topic/topic100587615. Go there and see if that helps you.

My tumor markers are also up and I have been taking Tamoxifen for year now. I wish I wasn't but the other medication they recommend is just about as bad.

I really don't know a lot about the tumor markers other than what I read on the above website. Last year my sister-in-law called and said she had cervical cancer and they basically told her to go home and get her affairs in order because her tumor markers were so high. She finally ended up at a specialist in Seattle and she didn't have cancer at all. That's nuts...so I don't know what to think.

Good luck to you.


Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

The comprehensive cancer center where I was treated does not test for tumor markers - they say they are too unreliable and cause needless worry. Just another opinion in this confusing situation.


Posts: 706
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Maggs:

I don't know what a tumor marker expert is or where you may have any luck finding one. These tests are used only as "indictors" and are not 100% reliable. Many things can effect the results.

My doctor said that they are really just learning what their usefulness may be. Scientists are still studying what the levels actually mean and many doctors are using them as an "aid" in diagnosing/treating patients. It's a learning process/tool for everyone at this point and that's about the most I've been able to determine with any certainty.

Good info is available at: www.nci.nih.gov
(website of the national institutes of health and national cancer institute) Just choose "treatment/tests" and then choose
patient or health professional format.

Hope that may give you more solid info.. No info is avail. to my knowledge, concerning "use" of the tests results. As with so many things, suing the marker tests is up to the individual doctor and/or treatment center and they base it on "practical application" and the trend to gain further knowledge about the tests and in what cases they find them to be reliable/useful.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Love light and laughter,

pamtriggs's picture
Posts: 407
Joined: Sep 2000

I think I qualify as an expert as I track my markers closely & when they are bad I feel bad. CA 153 is a protein given off by the tumour & is measurable in the blood. Normal is 20. Mine are currently 435 & I have a lot of metastatic tumours. A bone scan can usually pick up tumours in the bones but soft tissue ones are harder to find. Markers CA125 are for OVarian cancer & PSA markers are for male prostate cancer. As the tumour(s) shrinks the markers decrease. They are an indication only & not the be all & end all of diagnosis. Just another tool. Some people follow their marker trends others don't. Don't get hung up on them. Hope this helps.

Love & hugs


iris48's picture
Posts: 92
Joined: May 2002

My Onc said he uses the tumor markers (CA 27.29 anything below 38 is considered good) as just a guide, and in his opinion the way I am feeling is a much better indicator if all is well. You live in that body and you know if things feel off, energy there or not, resistance to colds effective or not. Your awareness about how your body is functioning is a much better indicator. The key is when you tell your Doc things don't feel right, Doc has to hear you and respond with MRI, or Pet Scans to determine. Hope this helps.

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