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Breast cancer survivor. Have arthritis. Tumour marker and blood work is fine. High stress level

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Practicing since : 2002
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I am a 15 year stage 2 breast cancer survivor. My bloodwork and tumor markers have always been fine. This past XXXXXXX my ca.27.29 markers were up to 98. Retested over two weeks later now 104. My onc has ordered a bone scan and a ct scan. I am so scared I cannot function. are these markers telling me I have cancer for sure? My stress level has been high since April when my mom had a heart attack and mybest friends son was killed in an accident two nghts ago. I have had a tram flap and since november have had rotator cuff issues with arthritis. (x-ray confirmed. I guess I want some hope. I have two grandsons and do not want to die.
Posted Wed, 31 Jul 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 46 minutes later
Hello and thank you for sending your question.

I completely understand how this type of situation can cause a significant degree of anxiety. i want you to remember that the reason why these laboratory tests are checked is to help doctors pick up cancer if it returns. At the same time fluctuation in tumor markers can occur in the absence of active cancer.
Right now your doctors are providing you with optimal care. It is completely appropriate to check scans To make sure there is no evidence of active cancer.
Even if your doctors do detect activity of cancer in your body there are many many different treatment options which can keep the cancer in remission for many many years.

We have made many advances in the field of breast cancer over the last 10 years. I want you to know that even if there is cancer that your doctors detect that you have many treatment options. At the same time it is premature to worry about treatment because we have no proof that there is active cancer. Again the blood tests are helpful but are not always 100 percent accurate at detecting cancer.

since there Has been a change in the laboratory results your doctor again is performing appropriate tests to look for possible active cancer cells.

Thank you again for sending your question. Again I understand this is a very stressful situation and I look forward to continuing to provide you with education and assistance with your concerns. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Dr Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Breast cancer survivor. Have arthritis. Tumour marker and blood work is fine. High stress level 35 minutes later
Thank you. Have you seen cases where markers rise but no cancer is detected? I am not handling this well and am grasping at straws.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 4 hours later

I have seen cases where the markers have risen but no cancer was found. Again we use these tests as a guide to help determine what kinds of investigations need to be done. Usually in this type of situation imaging procedures are done.

Homestly Your response is very normal. I do want you to remain optimistic however that regardless of what is found your doctors will guide you Toward Continued good health. I would also encourage you to share your feelings with family members and friends who served as continued sources of put support.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Dr Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Breast cancer survivor. Have arthritis. Tumour marker and blood work is fine. High stress level 41 hours later
I had my bone scan today and the technician actually should me the images and said there was no evidence of cancer. He pointed out all my arthritis area (which I knew) and where I had foot surgery. I feel relieved but of course am terrified of the ct scan next week. Does breact cancer mets usually go to the bones first?

One again grasping for hope.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later

I would wait for the final report from the radiologist just to be sure.

I am glad you are having the CT scan as well. This will help complete the workup and search for any recurrent cancer.

Cancer in general is not predictable. It may sometimes come back in the bones first and at other times may present somewhere in the abdomen or lungs. I know it's nearly impossible but - try and not focus on this until you have all of the information. Make sure you are exercising and eating well also. Pursue hobbies and tme with good friends.

Again it is still possible the numbers fluctuated in the absence of any active cancer. Stay optimistic - as I am - about your health.
Dr Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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