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When to React to ca 15-3

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My wife was diagnosed with Breast cancer in 1987, and again in 1991, two different cancers (different pathology). Been BrCa free since, however was diagnosed with ovarian Cancer in 2016, finished treatments in April 2017 . Prior to her ovarian cancer diagnosis her ca 15-3 did a slow rise over 5-6 years, and got to 49 about 6 months before the diagnosis of OvCa., with the idiot oncologist following her at the time, saying nothing to worry about, even after I pushed back hard.

At diagnosis of OvCa, her ca 15-3 was 75. Very odd. After treatment it dropped to 32. And since then, at 6 month intervals the readings have been…
35 34 35 33 33 35 36 36 34 and just last month, 40. All the while her ovarian cancer markers have been perfect, around 10-13 (at diagnosis it was 1700). I'm thinking this can't be called a trend?

I'd like to get feedback on the 40 reading. Any significance in your opinions?
We are seeing a new Breast oncologist the first week December, and I'm wondering if she will say, retest in 6 months, retest now, or do scans now. Or nothing to be concerned about. Or should we retest on our own prior to the appointment.
I've posted about this before, hoping to get more feedback now that we have breast onc appt coming up.
Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • mikamika
    mikamika Member Posts: 242
    edited February 2022
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    Hello,

    I hope your wife is doing great and is cancer free. If you don't mind me asking, what did the new doctor tell you?


  • ragman
    ragman Member Posts: 19
    edited February 2022
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    Hi Mika. I was surprised that at the time We were dealing with this, I got zero replies to my post. I sort of gave up on this forum. But when you responded with your question, I received an auto generated email notifying me. I hope you are not dealing with a similar quandary.


    to answer your question, the new Breast Onc surprised us. She advised that we stop doing the CA 15-3, saying it was not very reliable and that she only uses it for patients who are in treatment, to follow progress. But not for patients who are cancer free. And she also said that the chances of BrCa recurrence after 35 years are similar to the chance of hitting the lottery.

    She said to see her once a year, and just keep doing mammon’s and breast MRIs alternating every 6 months (BRCA positive status)


    hope this helps

  • mikamika
    mikamika Member Posts: 242
    edited February 2022
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    Hi ragman,

    Thank you for the update. I also heard from 4 MOs that they do not recommend tumor markers for cancer free patients. But my first MO started checking them 2 years ago, and I want to proceed. I am also BRCA positive, so I use any tool to check my body (if this tool is not toxic).

    My CA 15-3 is still within the normal range, by I don't like that it increased a lot since June, 2021. I did change the labs, but I don't feel that the discrepancy could be significant. I hope that this is just inflammation caused by my poor diet and stress during the last months.

    I am so grateful that you replied to me. Thank you so much for your time and help!


  • ragman
    ragman Member Posts: 19
    edited February 2022
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    I hope your numbers stay in range best of luck to yo

  • vlnrph
    vlnrph Member Posts: 493
    edited February 2022
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    With the onset of metastatic disease in 2018, I started getting tumor markers checked. The first months CA 27.29 was reported then the lab switched to 15-3. I tend to think of those as two sides of the same coin. Values came down nicely and were running 45 to 55 until now.

    There was a 'jump' to 60 which doesn't seem highly significant since it has been above the normal range by an increment that nobody considers worrisome. If similar increases show up over the next few months, I might ask for my next PET scan to be scheduled early.

    For Ragman, the simultaneous occurrence of my tumors with different pathology motivated me to see a genetic counselor. It's good to hear your wife survived ovarian cancer. So many don't. Given her BRCA status, I'm a bit surprised the new doctor downplayed the future risk…

  • ragman
    ragman Member Posts: 19
    edited February 2022
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    just to be clear, I don’t think the Dr was downplaying the potential risk, of a new breast cancer. Onky stating her opinion that ca 15-3 screening is not a worthwhile endeavor for women with who are cancer free for so many years. The risk of recurrence is low and her statement was ca 15-3 in the setting of cancer free is so unreliable and causes more angst than its worth

  • mikamika
    mikamika Member Posts: 242
    edited February 2022
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    Ragman,

    Thank you for your kind wishes.

    Does your wife have BRCA 1 or 2?

  • ragman
    ragman Member Posts: 19
    edited February 2022
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    Mika she is BRCA 1

  • malebreastc
    malebreastc Member Posts: 93
    edited March 2022
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    I have been asked to get CA 15-3 done, am worried

    How is it useful ?

    What are the good/bad ranges and what do they suggest ?