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Elevated CA 15-3

I am so sick of worrying about every little thing! Has anyone experienced this or have any knowledge of this? Had my blood work done and my CA 15-3 came back at 35, last time it was 27. I am told 25 is normal. All my other numbers were in the normal range. My onc wanted me to get a PET scan, but then her nurse said to me the number could be higher from inflammation. I said oh, like surgery?? I had my exchange surgery on Sept. 1. So the blood was drawn 3 weeks after surgery. Then I was told they can't scan so close to surgery as you would get a false reading. So I need to redo the bloodwork in 4 weeks. My question is has anyone heard of anything like this in regards to numbers being skewed from surgery, inflammation etc.? I am a worrier by nature so of course I now have 4 weeks to fret about this!!

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Comments

  • debbie6122
    debbie6122 Member Posts: 2,935
    edited September 2010

    cydz- My tumor marker test also came back high after my mx it was 37 he told me it was not uncommon for it to change one way or the other also said that he felt better knowing it was below 38- I have also so heard they are not always accurate- I hear the concern in your posts, and know you are worried, but im glad your onc is keeping an eye out for you, sounds like you are in good hands, hopefully your scores will come down after you heal- sending prayers and good wishes your way Hope your healing and feeling better

    Hugs,

    Debbie

  • Cydz
    Cydz Member Posts: 22
    edited August 2013

    It is still unnerving however. How were your numbers the next time you had them checked? I wonder why 38 was significant to your onc? I said to my onc, well it's only up a bit, and she was like well we don't want to see it go up at all. Funny how they differ. I like what yours said better than mine!! Thanks for your words of encouragement and your good wishes!!

  • nancyh
    nancyh Member Posts: 185
    edited September 2010

    Hi Cydz,

    I'm sure it is unnerving, but try not to worry too much.  Whe tumor markers are elevated for cancer, they are usually off the charts (like in the 100's or 1,000s).  If you dig around on the boards you'll see that lots of oncologists don't even use tumor markers because they are so unreliable.  From what I understand, all sorts of non-cancer-things can cause slightly elevated results.  Good luck!

  • Cydz
    Cydz Member Posts: 22
    edited September 2010

    Thanks Nancy! I appreciate your response!!!

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,705
    edited August 2013

    My doctor says it is a very non-specific test and the numbers will jump around....he would just get worried if there was a LARGE jump from one reading to another. I wouldn't be worried from 27 to 35; next time it might be 20 (and the next time 30 etc.).

  • csbees
    csbees Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2010

    I'm a 14 years and 10 months survivor. I remember the first time my number went up a little. I was scared, too. I'd been watching those numbers closely. A long-time friend and oncology nurse explained to me that there are reasons these numbers can fluctuate. Also, my oncologist told me right from the start that this test is used only as a tool in my follow up. She said it doesn't carry weight on its own because there can be other reasons these numbers change. I'm keeping good thoughts for you!

  • Cynthia1962
    Cynthia1962 Member Posts: 236
    edited October 2010

    Hi Cydz,

    We're in the same boat - 6 months ago my CA 15-3 was 19 and now it's 45. My onc wants me to repeat the test in a month and have a bone scan in the meantime.  I feel great and don't have any weird symptoms or pain.  My mammo looks clear, but with dense breasts I guess something could be hiding in there.  

    I almost can't believe I'm here again.  I was just starting to not worry so much about the possibility of recurrence.  I'm finding that I either feel sick to my stomach or refuse to think about it.  It's going to be a long month!

    I hope the next two weeks go quickly for you and you get good news.

     

  • Ozzi
    Ozzi Member Posts: 13
    edited October 2010

    I am a 10 year survivor and the CA15-3 has been the bane of my existence.  It definitely fluctuates. .. I had elevated numbers -39 -last year due to a bladder infection (we figured that out after it went back down to 26).  This year the number is 30 and I'm unhappy that it isn't 26 again (even though this is in normal range).  Definitely have an unhealthy obsession with that test.  Over my 10 years I have had many fluctuations. . . .try not to let it get to you.  Fluctuations within and around normal range are normal.  Steady significant increases may or may not be significant. . . .

  • GODISGOOD2012
    GODISGOOD2012 Member Posts: 5
    edited December 2013

    After reading the earlier posts, I probably shouldn't ask this question, but I would really like to hear what everyone thinks.  Should I be worried if my CA 15-3 went from 6.5 to 9.2 in a 6 month period of time???  I know it is in the normal range, but I am concerned that it changed at all.

  • karody
    karody Member Posts: 12
    edited January 2014

    My onc doesn't do the tumor marker tests at all.  She says they are not reliable and cause more false worry than anything.  Not sure I like that, as I would like more reassurance than just the CBC provides, but that's her professional opinion.


  • janiceB
    janiceB Member Posts: 2
    edited January 2014

    My CA-15-3 was up over 30 and my onc threatened to discontinue testing for it if I was going to worry. So I just cut way back on my sugar intake to reduce systemic inflammation and it came down to 17 on the next 6 month check up results. 

  • evep
    evep Member Posts: 1
    edited March 2014


    Hi,

    Just to let everyone know, I also had rising CA15-3. Up 11 points from normal over a 6 month period i.e 2 blood tests.  I did switch from Tamoxifen to Latrozole and also switched Lab companies at the same time.  I just had a Pet scan and all was normal. Going forward must have 3 month blood test. It was super scary while waiting.  This website was most helpful to me to find others with similar situation.  I hope this helps the next gal..

     

  • anneflorida
    anneflorida Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2014

    My numbers have always run higher than normal - 31 to 38.  Sometimes it will go up a point or so and then down a point.  My doctor says that he will scan me at 50 but it appears I run higher than as my normal.

  • MRT
    MRT Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2014

    please can someone help me because I'm going crazy.  My CA 15-3 blood test result 32.5.  Can someone tell me if it's alarming high?  No one seems to know the right ranges.  I had breast cancer 8 years ago, my last mammogram was 5 months ago and that was perfect and I feel absolutely fine.  What do you think?

  • encyclias
    encyclias Member Posts: 61
    edited March 2014

    I'm not a doctor, but it doesn't sound alarmingly high.  It's supposed to be <30 U/mL  Definitely a question for your doctor.  Tumor markers don't work for everyone, though.

    Carol

  • MRT
    MRT Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2014

    Do you know what's the highest these CA 15-3 blood test go up?  Because I was told that they stop at 32.7+, is this true?

  • bevin
    bevin Member Posts: 519
    edited March 2014

    From e: medicine: Hope this helps

    Cancer antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) is used to monitor response to breast cancer treatment and disease recurrence.

    The reference range of serum CA 15-3 is less than 30 U/mL. The upper limit of the range varies depending on the laboratory and kit used for the test. Values obtained with different assay kits, methods, or laboratories cannot be used interchangeably.

  • MRT
    MRT Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2014

    thank you for your reply.  My blood ca 15.3 came 32.5U/ml,  I had breast cancer 8 years ago and have been doing check ups regularly including a mammogram 5 months ago which was fine.  I checked my breasts and no lumps, I even made my doctor check me just to make sure.  I'm having a pet scan in 2 days time but I'm so worried

  • bevin
    bevin Member Posts: 519
    edited March 2014

    MRT- good luck with your Pet scan. I'm glad your doctor is checking into things. Hopefully it will be clear. Keep us posted and while you wait try to find things you like to do to keep you occupied.

  • MRT
    MRT Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2014

    just to let you all know that my pet scan was clear, I will have to repeat tumour marker 15-3 in 6 months time.  Thank you for listening to me

  • robsp
    robsp Member Posts: 9
    edited June 2014

    My blood ca 15.3 came 46.1U/ml 20 days after last chemo.  My MO asked to repeat the exam after 3 weeks

    to confirm this number, but I will begin my radiotherapy next week. I am not sure if radiotherapy can alter the result of ca 15.3.

  • robsp
    robsp Member Posts: 9
    edited June 2014

    I found an article, see below, where CA 15-3 is elevated after Neupogen (G-CSF) usage. I used Neupogen one week before my blood test. The article says that CA 15-3 may stay  elevated for 2 months after Neupogen shots. I hope that is my case. 

    G-CSF induces elevation of circulating CA 15-3 in breast carcinoma patients treated in an adjuvant setting

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1097-01...

  • robsp
    robsp Member Posts: 9
    edited July 2014

    My blood ca 15.3 came 23.6 U/ml today.  I hope that was some effect of Neupogen or other chemo medication. I will talk with my MO next week.

  • efda337
    efda337 Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2015

    My wife CA 15-3 started to rise since Oct/2014 during her yearly check visit, it went pass 100, 6 weeks ago and now is at 45 after 2 months in Tamoxifen and a green juice and salad for the last month. All test have been negative but the RDW came above normal, so, we are looking in to that now.

  • Katfur111
    Katfur111 Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2015

    Hello, new here, just Dx with BC that Mets and trying to understand labs, my CA 15-3 is 517.90 what does this mean? thank you

  • Katfur111
    Katfur111 Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2015

    what does IPF for? mine is 8.30 and fibrinogen(Q) mine is 448 and PLT-F mine is 120.00 thank you

  • sailawayaussies
    sailawayaussies Member Posts: 4
    edited February 2016

    Well I have tried to find a CA 15-3 score that was like mine. I was diagnosed with Primary Breast Cancer in February 2013. Tumor was removed in May 2013. No node involvement. 4 treatments of basic Chemo - TC. That was it. Visited the Onc quarterly then his past June became 6 month visit. She mentioned on my next visit (11/2015 she would run the CA 15-3 to get a base line going. Imagine the Doctor's shock when my results we 2,972. I had no concept what that meant, but it led to a PET scan (my first one). It is in both hips , C2, C6, L1-L5 vertebrae, left clavicle, my skull. Okay so I will go for a second opinion. They had nothing to say except radiation can help with the pain. So I have been undergoing radiation to reduce the tumors. Oh I also had a biopsy of the L5 tumor to confirm it is breast cancer - it is. Today I am having a pity party. Got the results of my second CA 15-3. My number is 4,305 today. :)

  • KBeee
    KBeee Member Posts: 695
    edited February 2016

    I am so sorry to hear about your bone metastasis. Were you having symptoms? I hope the radiation is shrinking the tumors

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,675
    edited February 2016

    Sailaway-

    We want to welcome you to our community, although we wish it were under different circumstances. Hopefully you find the support you need here, and we second Kbeee, we hope the radiation is successful in shrinking the tumors!

    The Mods

  • sailawayaussies
    sailawayaussies Member Posts: 4
    edited February 2016

    Thank you. I had a pain in my left hip mainly and it was affecting my walking. I also had pain that would come and go from the collar bone and from the neck. Never thought it would be cancer though.