• Tumor marker

    Asked by Steph921 on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

    Tumor marker

    I’m almost 6 years out & at my annual exam the blood work showed elevated tumor marker. Doc said don’t worry, there are a lot of false positives with this test. We will run again in a month. Has anybody had this happen? What was the outcome?

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I haven't but I want to wish you the best with the test next month. I do know I have seen quite a few people on the site talk about getting false positives with it.

      about 3 years ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar

      Happened to me last year. I was treated (lumpectomy/chemo/radiation) in 2014; I'm currently taking anastrozole to fight against recurrence. Last spring one of my markers crossed into the High range after trending upward for a year. We retested; it was still high. We did a PET, which was clear.

      Markers are not reliable and testing them is not recommended for early stage asymptomatic BC patients treated with curative intent (I see you were Stage II; I was Stage I). Markers can be high for people who are fine and "normal" for people who are metastatic. Here are the guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology:

      More info here:

      That doesn't stop oncologists from ordering the tests:

      My oncologist goes against the guidelines and has me tested regularly. (He says that except for my mammogram, it's all he has to go by.) I write about my experience last year here:

      Last fall my marker dropped back into the normal range.

      about 3 years ago
    • Steph921's Avatar

      Thanks Greg and Ejourneys! Very helpful answers!

      about 3 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      Why do doctors use a test which isnt reliable?

      I sure hope you turn out to be completely unremarkable.

      about 3 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar

      My breast cancer markers also rose; this happened during my chemo treatments, almost 19 years ago. I'd not had any scans when I was diagnosed, but when my markets rose, my oncologist (at MSKCC) asked me to have a bone scan and CT-scan. Both were negative.

      Years later, MSK, and other cancer hospitals, discontinued relying on this cancer-marker test for breast cancers.

      I wish you everything good.

      about 3 years ago
    • beachbum5817's Avatar

      My oncologist has never tested me for tumor markers. When I asked about it, he told me that he never has found them to be reliable. I hope that you find out that yours are not either. Let us know how you make out with them. Good luck. Take care.

      about 3 years ago
    • MaryAnn's Avatar

      As with Carol and Beach Bum, my oncologist has never tested me for markers post treatment. They don’t do anything except a yearly mammogram/ultrasound. I am surprised to see so many responses from people whose doctors still do this. Hoping it’s just a false positive for you.

      about 3 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      My marker bounced a little last time, but still under the limit. I'd had a discussion w/my doc about what would happen if my CA125 was over 35. We'd wait for a couple weeks, do another blood test. If that happens, I'll get sent for a new CT scan. I know w/CA125, things like infections can cause that number to climb. I hope your elevated levels are nothing more than that.

      about 3 years ago
    • fluteplayer's Avatar

      I have stage 4 and get tumor markers once a month. For 10 years they stayed at 24 then all of a matter of 3 months went to over 100.. my pet scan showed some new tumors. Now on Ibrance with those painful shots . Still markers going up only 1 or 2 a month . Another pet showed bone cancer shrinking but new tumor in lung. Refused those horrible shots. One in each hip. Copay is 300 a month and I couldn't sit .Dr. going to try another treatment. Really scared as no one wants to die rsp. from lung trouble.

      about 3 years ago
    • Lola27's Avatar

      I’ve had markers drawn for the last six years on a regular basis. Mine happen to be very reliable tools. It’s the trend that’s important, Once mine exceed the normal range, I’m scanned immediately.
      Scans tell the real story, however, not makers, I’ve been Stage 4 for 12 years. Much luck.

      about 3 years ago

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