tumor marking rising

I recently went to the doctor and found out my tumor marking went from a 16 to 69 in one month!!!! I had a bilateral mastectomy ( two years ago), complete hysterectomy, monthly zometa for one year, Arimidex for one year, and started faslodex four months ago. I will be getting a PET scan done next month. I was wondering what it means when the tumor markers go up? My doctor told me not to be worried!!!!! But I AM!!!! Need some help!!!!

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It's so hard not to panic!

The numbers themselves are not entirely definitive. According to my oncologist, what your doc and you should look for are trends upward or downward. Some women, like myself, never have TM's greater than 70 even when we have full blown acceleration of the cancer, while other women see their markers go up into the hundreds when they are just starting to have problems. It really varies a lot from person to person. So what you probably need to focus on is what your TM history looked like when the cancer was flaring up and also whether or not your next TM number continues to show an upward trend.

If you feel uncomfortable with waiting, ask if your PET scan can be moved up a few weeks. Ask your doctor to explain to you why you should not be worried by the number. If he has a valid reason, he should be willing to explain it to you. Also, listen to your body. If you are not having new symptoms or pain, then perhaps it is just a 'blip' in the numbers. Try to stay positive, but advocate for yourself and ask questions until you get answers you understand.

All of this is easier said than done, but keep trying to control the fear :) My thoughts and prayers are with you!

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Sandy gave a wonderful answer. The cancer center where I am being treated won't even look at tumor bloodwork numbers until you are stage 4 because they feel that they are so inaccurate. Just as Sandy mentioned, they are more to show a trend than anything absolute. The number you had before, 19, is in the range of a normal person without cancer... or only pre-cancerous conditions, but clearly you have cancer. So you can see that the numbers are not an absolute indicator.
On the other hand, my tumor markers have come down and now are in the normal range... but I have new places of pain. I have a bone scan and a CT scheduled for the last week in January and am afraid, even though my tumor markers are down. I am also on Faslodex and one of the SE's of the drug is bone pain... so it is hard to know when to be concerned.
I will pray for good news for both of us. Please let us know what you find out.
God bless,
Timarie

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My onc also agrees with the above - TM's might show a trend, but a number itself means nothing. His rule is how do you feel? If you feel good then he is not rushing to get new scans. If you have new pain and new symptoms then it may require looking into. So, while it is frustrating and scary, do some deep breating, do some exercise and try not to panic. What I hear from others is that over time there are trends that show. My markers have been up to 138 and I feel fine, although I know that I have mets to multiple bones.

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Thank you for the answers!!!! I am stage 4 breast cancer with tumors in my hip and spine, with no new pain! He never talked about tumor marking before so that's why it threw me off. He was talking chemo!!!!! I haven't had it yet and that alone is what's making me crazy!!!!

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I have to disagree w/ the tumor markers being insignificant. Whenever my sisters tumor markers started going up there was always new progresssion. So 4 her, the TMs were very important.

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I do agree that the trends in tumor markers are important and should be watched. It is valuable information. Knowledge is power, so Kymdur, have your oncologist educate you about TM's. Conquering my fears by getting the facts helps me a lot. Hope you get some reassurance soon!

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My 27/29 have been so true that so far when Xeloda worked it went fro 1,445 to 45 !! Also the scans proved that

However when the Affinitor/ Aromasin didnt work it went to 750 !

Now I have a dilema with TM at 1,350 after 1 month on Abraxane , I am seeing CLEARLY that its not working

I have to take a different path, My TM is life saving, but scary too

We have to be educated about our choices, no doctor should keep this valuable information away, or tell you to ignore it.

Naomi

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