CA 27-29 numbers rising: Does anyone else have an issue like this?

Posted by sandyjr @sandyjr, Jul 1, 2019

My Ca 27.29 seems to be high….in the 40’s….and my oncologist says that that is probably normal for me. He checked the records from my first bc. Does anyone else have an issue like this?

Hello, I'm new here but was hoping someone could help me. I am 11 years out from stage 2 breast cancer and I finished 10 years of Tamoxifen in November. Two weeks ago I had my first round of bloodwork since finishing and my CA 27-29 was a 40. I've always been in the 20s and 30s but I've also always been on Tamoxifen. I retested this week and was even higher, at 44. My doctor wants me to go back in 2 weeks for bloodwork one more time and if it's still high he wants to order scans. I can't really even put into words the fear and despair I'm feeling right now, but I'm sure most of you can imagine. So my question is – has anyone had this happen to them, specifically after stopping Tamoxifen, and it NOT progressed to stage 4? I do have a history of ovarian cysts but my markers have always been in normal range.

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@lauren03

Hello, I'm new here but was hoping someone could help me. I am 11 years out from stage 2 breast cancer and I finished 10 years of Tamoxifen in November. Two weeks ago I had my first round of bloodwork since finishing and my CA 27-29 was a 40. I've always been in the 20s and 30s but I've also always been on Tamoxifen. I retested this week and was even higher, at 44. My doctor wants me to go back in 2 weeks for bloodwork one more time and if it's still high he wants to order scans. I can't really even put into words the fear and despair I'm feeling right now, but I'm sure most of you can imagine. So my question is – has anyone had this happen to them, specifically after stopping Tamoxifen, and it NOT progressed to stage 4? I do have a history of ovarian cysts but my markers have always been in normal range.

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@lauren03
Hi, Lauren. Welcome to the group.

One of the reasons why my oncology group does not use tumor markers is that there has been no evidence to prove that they are 100% reliable for determining the presence or absence of cancer. Apparently, there are several circumstances, such as other health issues or disease, which can contribute to raised tumor marker levels. I realize that isn't a comfort to you… all of us are super sensitive to any news which may suggest a recurrence as we've been through too much not to be anxious… but let your oncologist do his work. It's so nice that it's "someone else's job" to make those determinations! Keep up with your self-care and do not hesitate to let us know how things are going. We're in your corner with this fight.

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@elizm

@lauren03
Hi, Lauren. Welcome to the group.

One of the reasons why my oncology group does not use tumor markers is that there has been no evidence to prove that they are 100% reliable for determining the presence or absence of cancer. Apparently, there are several circumstances, such as other health issues or disease, which can contribute to raised tumor marker levels. I realize that isn't a comfort to you… all of us are super sensitive to any news which may suggest a recurrence as we've been through too much not to be anxious… but let your oncologist do his work. It's so nice that it's "someone else's job" to make those determinations! Keep up with your self-care and do not hesitate to let us know how things are going. We're in your corner with this fight.

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The first time I had BC in 2007, my tumor markers were ok. I did not pay so much attention then. I was stage 0 with no lymph node involvement. The second time I had it, my tumor markers were in the 40s. I had stage 1 invasive BC with no lymph node involvement in 2018. Lumpectomies both time. Only 2 times since then have they been in the 30s. I had a full body CT scan and nothing showed it…that was in May 2019. They seem to be fluctuating from the 30s thru the 40s this time. My oncologist tests me for them, but is not alarmed at all. I took tamoxifen the first time…this time anastrozole…which I may stop and go on tamoxifen in April. That is to keep my bones healthy. I cannot tell you not to worry because I would be too, but a friend of mine was told by her doctor that he doesn’t use them because they are not definite and only cause fear in the patient when they go up. This time around I am still concerned, but much more relaxed about it. I think going for the scans is a good thing either way. If nothing shows up then just relax. My doctor has told me that the 40s are the magic number for me. The CA 27.29 is not supposed to be used as a diagnostic in early stage breast cancers.

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@sandyjr

The first time I had BC in 2007, my tumor markers were ok. I did not pay so much attention then. I was stage 0 with no lymph node involvement. The second time I had it, my tumor markers were in the 40s. I had stage 1 invasive BC with no lymph node involvement in 2018. Lumpectomies both time. Only 2 times since then have they been in the 30s. I had a full body CT scan and nothing showed it…that was in May 2019. They seem to be fluctuating from the 30s thru the 40s this time. My oncologist tests me for them, but is not alarmed at all. I took tamoxifen the first time…this time anastrozole…which I may stop and go on tamoxifen in April. That is to keep my bones healthy. I cannot tell you not to worry because I would be too, but a friend of mine was told by her doctor that he doesn’t use them because they are not definite and only cause fear in the patient when they go up. This time around I am still concerned, but much more relaxed about it. I think going for the scans is a good thing either way. If nothing shows up then just relax. My doctor has told me that the 40s are the magic number for me. The CA 27.29 is not supposed to be used as a diagnostic in early stage breast cancers.

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Thank you. I have actually found myself hoping it is in the breast instead of being metastatic which is a crazy thing to hope for! (Obviously my first hope is that it's nowhere!!!) But since I'm CHEK2 positive and still have one real breast that's a real possibility.

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@lauren03

Hello, I'm new here but was hoping someone could help me. I am 11 years out from stage 2 breast cancer and I finished 10 years of Tamoxifen in November. Two weeks ago I had my first round of bloodwork since finishing and my CA 27-29 was a 40. I've always been in the 20s and 30s but I've also always been on Tamoxifen. I retested this week and was even higher, at 44. My doctor wants me to go back in 2 weeks for bloodwork one more time and if it's still high he wants to order scans. I can't really even put into words the fear and despair I'm feeling right now, but I'm sure most of you can imagine. So my question is – has anyone had this happen to them, specifically after stopping Tamoxifen, and it NOT progressed to stage 4? I do have a history of ovarian cysts but my markers have always been in normal range.

Jump to this post

I am CHEK 2 as well. I found out last September and decided to have a bilateral mastectomy…had that w/ reconstruction in July. The covid messed that up…made a big delay. The whole surgery thing was not bad at all. I had a difficult time mentally the second time I had BC and felt I would probably go over the edge if it happened again.

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@sandyjr

I am CHEK 2 as well. I found out last September and decided to have a bilateral mastectomy…had that w/ reconstruction in July. The covid messed that up…made a big delay. The whole surgery thing was not bad at all. I had a difficult time mentally the second time I had BC and felt I would probably go over the edge if it happened again.

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I was planning to do the healthy breast this Fall proactively but decided not to because of Covid also. I don’t want to go through it again either – ugh – but it would be a better option than mets…

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Im new to this test. I had my first test after Double Mastectomy (Oct 2020), last January and its 26. Today, my seconf CA 27-29 returned with 36. Should I be afraid with the 10-point jump. 😱

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@thessf14

Im new to this test. I had my first test after Double Mastectomy (Oct 2020), last January and its 26. Today, my seconf CA 27-29 returned with 36. Should I be afraid with the 10-point jump. 😱

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Hi Thessf14, and welcome. Variations in tumor markers test like the CA 27-29 can be disconcerting and stressful. As @cindylb aptly said in an earlier message in this thread "Tumor marker tests are one tool doctors have to monitor but they can have great change and variables." And @mom23boys said "people's numbers bounce around and no two people seem to have the same starting point or "normal"."

Tumor markers are a simple non-invasive test that can give a signal for further investigation – the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Sometimes the fluctuations may indicate a progression of disease and sometimes not.

I'm sorry that you got this reading on a Friday going into the weekend, especially when it may mean nothing. Were you able to talk to your oncologist today or to leave a message on your patient portal? What type and stage of breast cancer do you have?

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@colleenyoung

Hi Thessf14, and welcome. Variations in tumor markers test like the CA 27-29 can be disconcerting and stressful. As @cindylb aptly said in an earlier message in this thread "Tumor marker tests are one tool doctors have to monitor but they can have great change and variables." And @mom23boys said "people's numbers bounce around and no two people seem to have the same starting point or "normal"."

Tumor markers are a simple non-invasive test that can give a signal for further investigation – the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Sometimes the fluctuations may indicate a progression of disease and sometimes not.

I'm sorry that you got this reading on a Friday going into the weekend, especially when it may mean nothing. Were you able to talk to your oncologist today or to leave a message on your patient portal? What type and stage of breast cancer do you have?

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Hi Colleen. Thanks for the info. I was diagnosed June 2020 on my left breast. Stage 1. I decided to go for Double Mastectomy. Nothing on my lymph nodes, and no chemo also. The first time, January 2021, I had the 27-29, the result was 26. Last Friday, April 30, I got the result for my 27-29 as 36, and the result for my 15-3 as 21. You think numbers are small?

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@thessf14

Hi Colleen. Thanks for the info. I was diagnosed June 2020 on my left breast. Stage 1. I decided to go for Double Mastectomy. Nothing on my lymph nodes, and no chemo also. The first time, January 2021, I had the 27-29, the result was 26. Last Friday, April 30, I got the result for my 27-29 as 36, and the result for my 15-3 as 21. You think numbers are small?

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Thessf, have you had a chance to talk to your oncologist about the test results?

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@thessf14

Im new to this test. I had my first test after Double Mastectomy (Oct 2020), last January and its 26. Today, my seconf CA 27-29 returned with 36. Should I be afraid with the 10-point jump. 😱

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@thessf14 Hi – I would like to add to Colleen’s words of advice and some earlier comments. These tumor markers are important indicators but only one tool out of many that your doctors use. I very carefully track all my numbers – CMP, CBC, CA 27.29, and the occasional other markers. Tracking all numbers allows you to establish what your baseline should be or what your ‘normal’ is. Ups and downs on all numbers are to be expected due to life style, poor blood draw, meds, surgery or lab funkiness. This allows you and your doctor to recognize an “off result” that can return to what your norm might be. I personally think my tracking also always me to take some degree of control over my cancer care. Btw – I am a September 2019 double mastectomy stage 4 – we thought I would begin chemo & radiation after surgery but a routine visit dermatologist for Lyme disease treatment resulted in finding of breast cancer to my skin. Took care of Lyme and We pivoted quickly to Verzenio and Armidex meds. I do blood draws every 4-6 weeks – it seems like yours were a year apart? So maybe time to up the frequency to see your pattern. Good luck! Ps I go to Quest and created an account which allows me to get my results back about the same time as my doctor. And I always make sure that my follow-up doc appointments allow for a week of blood processing.

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@colleenyoung

Hi Thessf14, and welcome. Variations in tumor markers test like the CA 27-29 can be disconcerting and stressful. As @cindylb aptly said in an earlier message in this thread "Tumor marker tests are one tool doctors have to monitor but they can have great change and variables." And @mom23boys said "people's numbers bounce around and no two people seem to have the same starting point or "normal"."

Tumor markers are a simple non-invasive test that can give a signal for further investigation – the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Sometimes the fluctuations may indicate a progression of disease and sometimes not.

I'm sorry that you got this reading on a Friday going into the weekend, especially when it may mean nothing. Were you able to talk to your oncologist today or to leave a message on your patient portal? What type and stage of breast cancer do you have?

Jump to this post

When I asked my oncologist about these tests – she stated she does not use them at all because they are unreliable. I trust her – so I'm not concerned with these tests. I was a Stage 1 – 3B tumor. Lumpectomy, no chemo, but radiation.

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