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Should i still continue my oncology tests inspite of having all the recent reports?

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Practicing since : 1985
Answered : 236 Questions
I was diagnosed with Stage I Triple negative, BRCA 2 + breast cancer at 51 yrs of age. Hx. premenopausal breast ca maternal aunt. I completed chemo and had bilateral mastectomies and bilateral salpingoophorectomy - all completed between 11/2011 and 6/2012. Since then q3mth oncology visits with labs: cbc, cmp, ca-15. My CA-15 has slowly increased from 12.8 in 8/2012 to 20.4 today. I know this is still WNL but the trend still concerns me but apparently not my oncologist. She said that if I am concerned about this trend then she can stop doing the test.......... i just can't let it go.......what do you think/
Posted Thu, 13 Mar 2014 in Breast Cancer
Answered by Dr. Cori Baill 36 minutes later
Brief Answer: Thank you for writing. I agree with your concern. Detailed Answer: CA15 like other tumor markers has limitations. It is not very precise. You had an early breast cancer that was aggressively treated. But BRCA + patients deserve close scrutiny. Has your oncologist considered a PET scan? If negative , I think it would be very reassuring.
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Follow-up: Should i still continue my oncology tests inspite of having all the recent reports? 32 minutes later
Thanks for your thoughts. My oncologist has not suggested any followup scans. Last Bone scan done in 8/2012, last PET in 4/2012. at my last appointment she said that if the cancer recurs, it is always a stage iv and the outcome is no different whether we find it today or next year...... we will only be treating symptoms not curing. This makes me feel like i am being paranoid and not wanting to ask for a PET scan...... your thoughts?
Answered by Dr. Cori Baill 7 hours later
Brief Answer: I would not discount your inner voice. Detailed Answer: Of course it is possible to be over anxious and worried, but your concern seems reasonable to me. I am not sure I share your oncologists point of view about now vs a year from now. It has been over a year, almost 2 since a negative PET, and considering that a negative test outcome has the great value of reassurance, permitting you to relax and enjoy your remission, I think it is a reasonable test to request. I also think early detection of recurrence is often associated with a better outcome. Perhaps it is time to consult with a nearby oncologist for a second opinion? One that is associated with a medical school, and specializes in breast cancer? Do not hesitate to be your own advocate.
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