Ca 27.29 consistently high...in the 40’s

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?

@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?

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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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@keepmoving2

@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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Following up on tests, markers & patient advocacy. Just had exhausting day of in person visits. I want to again emphasize the importance of controlling what you can, and remember that no one advocates better than oneself. Case in hand – after 18 mos of my CA 27.29 being in the low 20's, it more than doubled in last month to 58. B/c I can see my results on Quest, lobbed a virtual visit call to my doc. He was just looking at that test results. We discussed the change and agreed to test me in a month. So this week, I do bloodwork again, and my 27.29 goes down to 52. So an improvement but not enough. This time I get in for in-person visit and take copies of everything. Couple of other things way out of wack and I don't feel well. He has just my most recent bloodwork. We look at my paperwork and we could see from my charting there was a trend for numerous tests that haven't yet reached outside the norm. Every stage of cancer is important, but my Stage 4 diagnosis leaves me very little room for error. I am been feeling amazing for 14 of those months – walking 15K races, hiking portions of the AT, playing competitive tennis. Last 4 months been increasingly 'off'. So bloodwork supported how I feel. Now comes the fun part of eliminating reasons – med rejection, breast cancer moving, lyme flair up or possible a gall bladder of all things. Or get this – in the middle of breast reconstruction – and my body not happy with metal expanders. So in sum – I have a lot to live for and staying on top/pushing the medical field/ repeated phone calls/ copying my paperwork makes me feel better! 🙂

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You mention that you are currently undergoing breast reconstruction. My CA 27.29 showed an increase when I had my bloodwork done in December 2020 for my January appointment in January 2021. I have also been doing breast reconstruction….diep, no implants…and had had my bloodwork done one week after my final surgery (constructing my new nipples…a pretty simple surgery). At the January appointment, my oncologist showed some concern about the rise in CA 27.29 (not a significant increase as yours was) and asked if I had had surgery recently because surgery causes inflammation and inflammation can cause tumor markers to rise. I just had the CA 27.29 done for my appointment on 5/10/2021 and they have dropped considerably. Also, it is my understanding that it is more common for women to have an infection after reconstruction with implants vs diep flap (using the body’s own tissue). Infection also causes inflammation. Perhaps your reconstruction process has affected your tumor marker readings. It is all very scary.

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@sandyjr

You mention that you are currently undergoing breast reconstruction. My CA 27.29 showed an increase when I had my bloodwork done in December 2020 for my January appointment in January 2021. I have also been doing breast reconstruction….diep, no implants…and had had my bloodwork done one week after my final surgery (constructing my new nipples…a pretty simple surgery). At the January appointment, my oncologist showed some concern about the rise in CA 27.29 (not a significant increase as yours was) and asked if I had had surgery recently because surgery causes inflammation and inflammation can cause tumor markers to rise. I just had the CA 27.29 done for my appointment on 5/10/2021 and they have dropped considerably. Also, it is my understanding that it is more common for women to have an infection after reconstruction with implants vs diep flap (using the body’s own tissue). Infection also causes inflammation. Perhaps your reconstruction process has affected your tumor marker readings. It is all very scary.

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Thanks for the support – you are correct about surgery being capable of raising tumor markers. Exactly what I saw. Bumped up next month, and then came down to my normal levels. Infection not indicated based in blood work. But my current situation has taken the wrong turn according to a late night call from the doc. Mild Ascites complication. So new journey to tackle. Will look to our Mayo Board for better understanding. Glad your reconstruction is going great. And enjoy every day!

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