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?

@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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@sandyjr

I had blood work 4months ago and then just this past week. My CA 27.29 jumped 10 points in that time and is now out of the normal range…49. I had surgery in April and radiation in July of 2018. I have been taking anastrozole since last May. Has anyone else had this experience? Of course I am afraid. Can stress affect tumor marker readings? My doctor is sending me for a CT scan. Is this a “normal” occurrence?

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I am 13 years out from stage 1 invasive BC with no lyphnode involvement. I had double mast. My CA 27.29 has constantly stayed between 11-13. Last July it was 15 and this July tested at 22. I know that the threshold is 38. I am concerned with the rise. Does anyone have advise they would share? Thank you

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@asj93

I am 13 years out from stage 1 invasive BC with no lyphnode involvement. I had double mast. My CA 27.29 has constantly stayed between 11-13. Last July it was 15 and this July tested at 22. I know that the threshold is 38. I am concerned with the rise. Does anyone have advise they would share? Thank you

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Hi Asj93, welcome to the group. You may have noticed that I moved your message to this existing discussion about concerns with rising CA 27-29. I did this so can connect with fellow members like @elizm @thessf14 @sandyjr @cindylb @keepmoving2 @keepmoving2 @mom23boys and others. I encourage you to read through the past posts.

To quote an earlier post:
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.

Have you had a chance to discuss this fluctuation with your oncologist yet?

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@colleenyoung

Hi Asj93, welcome to the group. You may have noticed that I moved your message to this existing discussion about concerns with rising CA 27-29. I did this so can connect with fellow members like @elizm @thessf14 @sandyjr @cindylb @keepmoving2 @keepmoving2 @mom23boys and others. I encourage you to read through the past posts.

To quote an earlier post:
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.

Have you had a chance to discuss this fluctuation with your oncologist yet?

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Thank you for moving my question and sending the comments. Due to Covid, I missed my yearly last year. I ordered the CA 27.29 n my own last July and this July. My normal appt. is in Nov. I am followed closely by mu PCP for hormone and other bloodwork. I was just curious with the rise. I will follow up with the Dr. Thank you

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@asj93

Thank you for moving my question and sending the comments. Due to Covid, I missed my yearly last year. I ordered the CA 27.29 n my own last July and this July. My normal appt. is in Nov. I am followed closely by mu PCP for hormone and other bloodwork. I was just curious with the rise. I will follow up with the Dr. Thank you

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You may wish to discuss it with your PCP and ask if further testing is warranted. Just a thought.

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My ca 27.29 are elevated to 40. I was diagnosed with stage 1, grade 3 breast cancer in Sept 2019. Had lumpectomy with no lymph node involvement. had radiation treatments. my tumor markers bounce from 40 down to low 30"s. the cancer center that my oncologist is affiliated with does this blood draw every six months. I am currently taking tamoxifin. Now she wants me to have CT of C/A/P with contrast and a bone scan. My surgical oncologist is affiliated with Rutgers Cancer Institute and has advised me that they don't even perform this test for a patient such as myself as I did not have metastatic breast cancer and the test are not reliable and causes undo stress. I was unable to continue with Arimidex or Aromosin as I had terrible bone pain along with foot paid and hand pain. I also have arthritis and had my knee scoped in June. I really don't want to put unnecessary stress on my kidneys from the contrast of the test.

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@maryc1954

My ca 27.29 are elevated to 40. I was diagnosed with stage 1, grade 3 breast cancer in Sept 2019. Had lumpectomy with no lymph node involvement. had radiation treatments. my tumor markers bounce from 40 down to low 30"s. the cancer center that my oncologist is affiliated with does this blood draw every six months. I am currently taking tamoxifin. Now she wants me to have CT of C/A/P with contrast and a bone scan. My surgical oncologist is affiliated with Rutgers Cancer Institute and has advised me that they don't even perform this test for a patient such as myself as I did not have metastatic breast cancer and the test are not reliable and causes undo stress. I was unable to continue with Arimidex or Aromosin as I had terrible bone pain along with foot paid and hand pain. I also have arthritis and had my knee scoped in June. I really don't want to put unnecessary stress on my kidneys from the contrast of the test.

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If you read back to @colleenyoung comment a while back she talks about trends in these numbers. This is a very good point. Since they have been running these numbers every 6 months, you should know the trend, has it stayed steadily low and suddenly jumped? Or has it been bouncing around or has it been steadily climbing? Maybe using this information you can get a better idea of wether or not you want to get a scan. This is really just one of many tools that doctors use to make sure it can’t come back undetected.

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@maryc1954

My ca 27.29 are elevated to 40. I was diagnosed with stage 1, grade 3 breast cancer in Sept 2019. Had lumpectomy with no lymph node involvement. had radiation treatments. my tumor markers bounce from 40 down to low 30"s. the cancer center that my oncologist is affiliated with does this blood draw every six months. I am currently taking tamoxifin. Now she wants me to have CT of C/A/P with contrast and a bone scan. My surgical oncologist is affiliated with Rutgers Cancer Institute and has advised me that they don't even perform this test for a patient such as myself as I did not have metastatic breast cancer and the test are not reliable and causes undo stress. I was unable to continue with Arimidex or Aromosin as I had terrible bone pain along with foot paid and hand pain. I also have arthritis and had my knee scoped in June. I really don't want to put unnecessary stress on my kidneys from the contrast of the test.

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Hi Mary, I add my welcome. Did you decide to get the CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis? Usually they are done to evaluate for metastatic disease. Did you ask your oncologist if she suspects that the cancer has spread? Or why she feels the scans are necessary? I can certainly understand you're not wanting to get tests unnecessarily. Why is a good question to ask.

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Hi Colleen, Yes I did go ahead and have a bone scan and CT's on Saturday. Pretty sure the bone scan was clear as the tech said that the radiologist reviewed and did not want anymore views. He said I could enjoy my weekend. No word yet on the CT's. Just had on Saturday. My oncologist ordered the test because my ca27.29 was at 40. slightly high as it should be 38 or lower. She also said this could be my norm. I have read so much regarding the test and how it is not accurrate. mammo was clear last month, I never had any lymphnode envolvement, just lumpectomy and radiation. I am currently taking tamoxifin. I am considering perhaps going to see another oncologist. I travel an hour to see this one as when I was employed I had to stay in network but now I am on Medicare and can go anywhere I choose.

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I am really happy that your scans went well. I would think less travel is better, unless you were like my family. We have an oncologist we really think is amazing an hour and half north of us. If we didn’t, I might not travel. Do you live in an area with choices?

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