CA 19-9 and pancreatic cancer: What do the numbers mean?

Posted by lisarlee @lisarlee, Feb 1 8:40am

What is your opinion on these numbers? Was diagnosed in September 2019 and my ca 19-9 was 7500. New number yesterday was 909 after 9 chemo sessions. Is this good news or a wasted test?

Liked by lucky1038

You have come a long way from a very high number to start with so I would say it's good news, the trend is the right direction and it shows your cancer has had a metabolic response (meaning, the chemo is working on it)! I hope the trend continues for you 🙂

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@fassbinder

You have come a long way from a very high number to start with so I would say it's good news, the trend is the right direction and it shows your cancer has had a metabolic response (meaning, the chemo is working on it)! I hope the trend continues for you 🙂

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Thanks for your reply. My step daughter keeps telling me she researched it
and it means nothing so I was hoping for some positive feedback.

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My husband started out at 24,000!!!! He is now down to 64.

Liked by lisarlee

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@colorafo19

My husband started out at 24,000!!!! He is now down to 64.

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Has he had scans showing tumor shrinkage?

Liked by ginathemom

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@lisarlee

Thanks for your reply. My step daughter keeps telling me she researched it
and it means nothing so I was hoping for some positive feedback.

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I like the information provided by the website Lab Tests Online (https://labtestsonline.org/) by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC). The information is trustworthy and easy to understand.

Here's the page about Cancer Antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) https://labtestsonline.org/tests/cancer-antigen-19-9
CA 19-9 is primarily used to monitor response to pancreatic cancer treatment and to watch for recurrence. In the section called "What does the test result mean?" it states:
"Levels of CA 19-9 that are initially high and then fall over time may indicate that the treatment is working and/or that the cancer was removed successfully during surgery. Levels that remain high or rise over time may indicate that treatment is not working and/or that the cancer is recurring."

@lisarlee, I understand that your step daughter may not have complete faith in the CA 19-9 test. It is only one test. But taking a blood sample is a simple, non-invasive test to keep check on things. Your cancer team will use multiple tests in addition to the CA 19-9 test to monitor the cancer, how the treatment is working or not, and watch for signs of recurrence.

For the moment, I think both you and @colorafo19 can accept the lower numbers as good news and have confidence in the teams monitor of the cancer. What other tests have you had? How are you feeling?

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I very much appreciate this information. Having a lower CA 9-19 has been an important source of hope for me. I wish the same for others. Thank you.

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Ct showed one tumor resolved and my oncologist is calling me stable. Heading to St. Louis Wednesday to see a surgeon. Hoping for good news. Feel pretty good. Still pretty weak, probably from chemo.

Liked by ginathemom

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@lisarlee

Has he had scans showing tumor shrinkage?

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Yes he has had scans that definitely show the tumor is gone. His last PET Scan showed his abdominal area is free of cancer. Unfortunately it has metastasized to his lungs. It was caught early and the nodules are very small.

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@lisarlee, how did the appointment go with the oncologist earlier this month?
@lml, how are you doing?
@colorafo19, having found the small nodules in his lungs, what are the next steps? Will he get additional treatment or watch and wait?

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Thanks for asking. Last night I had my first episode with a high fever, post splenectomy in October. I wanted to put my head in the sand but I did make myself do what I was advised to do and went to the ER. And in a far away city where I’m working this week. Source of infection still undetermined; more follow up scheduled back at Mayo Rochester on Friday because the labs are looking odd. The feeling of threat, am I ok or is my cancer back, is never that far away. I wish denial worked but it really doesn’t. I’m back into blood draws, checking labs in the app. Cancer is never really out of mind. And while I write this, I realize I am among the luckiest – caught early, margins clear, etc, but the memory of hearing I had cancer and the fear of dying is still fresh and might not be so different.

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@colleenyoung

@lisarlee, how did the appointment go with the oncologist earlier this month?
@lml, how are you doing?
@colorafo19, having found the small nodules in his lungs, what are the next steps? Will he get additional treatment or watch and wait?

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Thanks for asking. He has been getting chemo every other week for the last 5 months. We will be back at Mayo Clinic at the beginning of March to see how things responded. Hopefully a chemo holiday will be coming soon!

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@lml

Thanks for asking. Last night I had my first episode with a high fever, post splenectomy in October. I wanted to put my head in the sand but I did make myself do what I was advised to do and went to the ER. And in a far away city where I’m working this week. Source of infection still undetermined; more follow up scheduled back at Mayo Rochester on Friday because the labs are looking odd. The feeling of threat, am I ok or is my cancer back, is never that far away. I wish denial worked but it really doesn’t. I’m back into blood draws, checking labs in the app. Cancer is never really out of mind. And while I write this, I realize I am among the luckiest – caught early, margins clear, etc, but the memory of hearing I had cancer and the fear of dying is still fresh and might not be so different.

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@lml, Good for you for getting to ER. It was the right thing to do although the head in the sand may have seemed easier. May I ask what you found out from your appointment on Friday?

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White count is still out of range but is trending down. Probably had a viral infection. No risk of sepsis at this point. Thanks for checking.

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We rely on seeing the tumor markers go down to show we are going in the right direction.

Have any of you had your ca19-9 go up after chemo and rad/onc? Hubby's went up after consistently going down. Said it could be shedding cells. Trying to learn more about it… very concerning. Thanks. Believing in healing

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@debsid

We rely on seeing the tumor markers go down to show we are going in the right direction.

Have any of you had your ca19-9 go up after chemo and rad/onc? Hubby's went up after consistently going down. Said it could be shedding cells. Trying to learn more about it… very concerning. Thanks. Believing in healing

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I've read so much about the CA19-9 markers and still get confused about it. I heard that it could rise after starting chemo or being off it and then back on it…. Has it gone up more than one time?

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