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Topic: Tumor Markers Elevated - Does Your Doc Monitor Them

Forum: Stage I Breast Cancer — Meet other members with a Stage I breast cancer diagnosis to share information and support.

Posted on: Dec 3, 2019 10:01AM

mitziandbubba wrote:

I got a call yesterday that my tumor markers have gone up slightly from my last blood test. First off, I had no idea that tumor markers were even going to be a thing in my case. I I read that a lot of docs don't use tumor markers and especially not for Stage 1 people? And that they can throw up lots of false positives? And that a lot of conditions can cause them to rise including inflammation? I had a bad cold for over a month when I was tested last week so maybe it could even be that?

My oncologist is super cautious. For example I have had every scan in the universe, genetic testing etc. I know other Stage 1's don't get a bone scan but they did think I was further along - but still. I'm realizing that my doctor is thorough but maybe it is too much? I really do not want to live in constant fear and worry. I cried for hours last night. Maybe I will get used to it eventually but I am not sure.

My husband thinks it is great that my onc is this way and says it is my choice to be fearful or not. Of course I am the one who went through cancer, not him. And it is so soon after treatment ends already there is an issue. Just last week when I had the blood test my onc said 2020 will be a great year for you! Go live your life!

And then a week later I'm back in it again.

But I'm confused about why I'm having the tumor markers tested to begin with - does your doc test them?

Surgery 5/9/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 5/29/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 22, 2020 02:48PM jcp wrote:

mitziandbubba, The answer for the tumor markers from bloodwork is something you have to be comfortable with. If you are now, then that is a good feeling! If it ever starts to be a little much, you can always just talk to MO about doing things less frequently. I cant remember but I think it was just bloodwork you were referring to not regular scans? Yesterday I dod the CT scan. It was pretty quick w IV contrast. The radiology department said they send the ordering dr the report in two days. That looks like Monday. I'm always afraid to get a call and even more so if it's sooner than Monday bc it makes me think of not so good news. Hopefully, Desr God, it is a benign finding including if they find other things in my stomach etc.. Definitely worries but I have learned that the worry just runs the good times. I still do, though. Praying helps when I can concentrate enough. Hope all is well. You will do just fine! THANK YOU so much for the prayers. It means a lot to me, truly. Susan aka JCP


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May 24, 2020 06:57PM mitziandbubba wrote:

Thanks JCP! Let us know the results!

My tests are just bloodwork and then I have a mammo 1x a year and MRI 1x a year. I've had my mammo already. I'm kicking around asking the onc if I can do the tests every 6 vs every 3 months but if she has a good reason for wanting them every 3 months I can handle it. I'm feeling pretty darn good lately with my survivor status, a helluva lot less worried about recurrence than I was.

Surgery 5/9/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 5/29/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 13, 2020 02:00PM wallycat wrote:

I'm curious how old your doc is...how many years of experience. Maybe your doc has not seen many, many breast cancers so is being cautious not to miss anything. I used to think my oncologist (when I moved out here) was a little flippant about my cancer, not taking it too seriously. I've never had scans (except the two breast MRIs that found it and then needed to biopsy it since mammo and ultrasound could not detect it). I don't recall ever having labs done minus the wellness labs (CBC, metabolic panel, thyroid, etc.) that I ask for since I don't have a primary doc (long story). I've asked if I should go back on AIs, have scans, labs, etc. and I just thought she was not an alarmist. Fast forward to my DH's cancer DX (metastatic prostate cancer) and I cannot believe how many scans she's ordered for him, labs, blah, blah...so I think some docs have more experience and know when to do more things while others are maybe overly cautious.
I agree that you aren't required to go along with everything they say; at the least, have a discussion why.


Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012

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