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Tumor Marker Baseline


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I spoke to the Onco today and my Baseline number is 83. He said normal is 0-5. Anyone know what 83 means in our world? Good, Bad or Ugly? I'm glad I have something to watch though. Hard to wait the 2 month for a new scan. Starting week 3 of radiation today. Liz

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Diagnostic Tests and Staging

Tumor markers are substances secreted into the bloodstream by certain tumors. However, tumor markers sometimes are present in the blood of people who do not have cancer. Thus, finding a tumor marker does not necessarily mean a person has cancer. However, in people who do have cancer, tumor markers can be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and to detect possible recurrence of the cancer. The level of a tumor marker increases if the cancer recurs.

Selected Tumor Markers

Tumor Marker


Comment About Testing

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) Levels are raised in the blood of people with cancer of the colon, breast, pancreas, bladder, ovary, or cervix. Levels may also be raised in people who are heavy cigarette smokers and in those who have cirrhosis of the liver or ulcerative colitis Testing can be useful in screening for cancer and in monitoring treatment and detecting recurrence

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) Normally produced by fetal liver cells, AFP is found in the blood of people with liver cancer (hepatoma). In addition, AFP is often found in people with certain cancers of the ovary or testis and in children and young adults with pineal gland tumors Testing can be useful in diagnosing cancer and in monitoring its treatment

Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (ß-HCG) This hormone is produced during pregnancy but also occurs in women who have a cancer originating in the placenta and in men with various types of testicular cancer Testing can be useful in diagnosing cancer and in monitoring its treatment

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) Levels are raised in men with noncancerous (benign) enlargement of the prostate and are considerably higher in men with prostate cancer. What constitutes a meaningfully abnormal level is somewhat uncertain, but men with an elevated PSA level should be evaluated further by a doctor Testing can be useful in screening for cancer and in monitoring its treatment

Carbohydrate antigen 125 (CA-125) Levels are raised in women with a variety of ovarian diseases, including cancer Because ovarian cancer is often difficult to diagnose, some cancer experts recommend using this test in women older than 40. However, it is not routinely used

Carbohydrate antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) Levels are raised in people with breast cancer This test cannot be recommended for cancer screening. However, it can be useful in monitoring treatment

Carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) Levels are raised in people with cancers of the digestive tract, particularly pancreatic cancer This test cannot be recommended for cancer screening. However, it can be useful in monitoring treatment

Beta2 (ß2)-microglobulin Levels are raised in people with multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and in many forms of lymphoma This test cannot be recommended for cancer screening. However, it can be useful in monitoring treatment

Lactate dehydrogenase Levels can be raised for a variety of reasons This test cannot be recommended for cancer screening. However, it is useful in assessing prognosis and monitoring treatment, particularly for people with testicular cancer, melanomas, and lymphomas

This is the best I can find that is not all medical info. Prqayers and Good Luck.

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My husbands' radiologist is monitoring some tumor markers in my husbands' blood samples. His highest was 107 and now since he had taken etoposide, last month and w/ his IMRT and rad on his lungs/liver his marker has dropped considerably....he is last time checked 4.7 so he is in the normal range! .....the Rad. is very happy w/ this, and even his oncologist who isn't that big on tumor markers believes that this form of treatment for my husband is working....to what extent...he will have to go for more tests MRI, CT, PET to find out.....


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That's what I'm talking about, Randy! You know where to find everything we need. I found a bunch of that stuff too , but nothing about lung cancer. Thanks, Grace, for your imput. Sounds like it's an acceptable number. So happy to hear Carlton is in the normal range now. That's something positive to focus on. Just started having difficulty swallowing food this weekend. Doing everything right so far. Creamed soups, smoothies, ice cream. I love this diet. Got a great book at the doctors today. Eating right with cancer. I'll start a new topic with all the info. Hugs and kisses to all my new friends, Liz

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Hi Liz,

First and foremost, let me congratulate you on quitting smoking! It is a very difficult thing to do under the best conditions, much less what you are going through emotionally. I really admire you. :D (Wish I could say the same for myself...)

Tony has CEA bloodwork done only occasionally. Our onc. doesn't rely on this marker too much and I've noticed others on the board say the same for their Oncs. Tony started out just a hair above 5.0 which is in the normal smoker range, but he didn't smoke and he was loaded with cancer in the both lungs and in between. His numbers should have been through the roof. So go figure. His has been as low as .5. We were told during our "chemo initiation" instruction that these markers aren't the best measure, as the baseline can fluctuate wildly between patients. Our doc heavily utilizes CAT/PET scans every three months for Tony's progress.

Aaaahhh, the waiting game between scans! We HATE this part too. It gets even worse when you actually have the scan done and you are waiting a few days for the results. :?

Best of luck on your treatment schedule. Sounds like you have your hands full right now. Hope you are tolerating it okay.



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Thanks Welthy, Actually I got pretty lucky with the smoking. I had a very bad oral fixation all my life. Bit my nails, smoking, all kinds of stuff in my mouth. I got acrlic nails in 1990 and still chewed the real nail off the backs. I've tried laser, patch, gum and hypnosis. Nothing really work more then 2 weeks. Did you ever wish you could go to bed and just wake up and forget you ever smoked? That happened to me during my surgury. I think God switched the switch for me. I forgot I smoked till a nurse asked a few days later if I wanted a patch. I ask what kind of patch and why? She said I was a smoker. Guess I forgot. Just laughed and said no. Took me about 2 weeks to realise I stoped biting my nails. Don't get me wrong, I still think about it. But before it was a 100 times a day, now maybe 3. And I dream about it, but never light it up. Last dream I flushed it down the toilet unlit. As far as my treatments, I beleive I'm doing better then expected. No real side effects yet except I start having difficulty swallowing food. Always had pressure but now I have pain. But thats it. Still have my hair, not too tired, except I don't sleep well the night of chemo. Skins doing good at radiaiton site, not nauseated. Keeping my fingers crossed. Love my Doctor and all the folks that work there. And I'm surrounded by love. I've become spirtial to the point of making my daughter apologize to God for saying something bad. So far this has been more a blessing then a curse. But I know the worse is yet to come and I'm ready. God has big plans for me, I've left everything in his hands and he's done a fine job up to now. He brought me here, didn't he? Hugs and prayers to all, Liz

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I assume we are talking about the CEA blood test marker. The baseline would be what future CEA blood test can be compared to.

With Chemo and Radiation treatments good progress might show decreasing values of CEA and that would be good news.

CEA concentrations that rise steadily at greater than or equal to 12.5% are associated with recourrences.

We didn't even know about this test for 3 months after DX and start of treatment. (Doctor made the test but didn't talk about it) My feelings were that the oncologist justification to continue treatment was because Lisa's CEA was on the decrease.

Her CEA went from 22 in Apr to 2.4 in Oct.

Decreasing CEA may mean less cancer cells circulating in the blood but it's no indication that the tumors are shrinking. That maybe why some if not all oncologists don't rely on the test for desease status. For us as well as many of our fellow cancer friends, decreasing CEA means Hope.

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