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 Tumor markers
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Elise2369

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Tumor markers - Monday, September 01, 2014 8:53 PM
Hello everyone,

My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. She was stage 4 at diagnose with it in her liver. She started hormone therapy which she responded too. They were checking her every three months. In march just over a year in treatment her levels went to 50. The doctor was not worried, she stated,  might be an indication the medicine is becoming inactive. In June we went in and the ct scan indicated the cancer moved to the bones, the tumor markers went to 70. They put her infusion bone support and changed her hormone therapy. I instead we not wait 3 months. When we went back in two months her tumor markers went too 167.  They now have her on 500 Milligrams of  faslodex through shots.

My mother is now in a panic. How do I explain to her that this a horrible set back, but does not mean the tumor markers will not go down again or that it is ending.

Please help me understand tumor markers?

Thank you
Nuzzys Nana

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Re:Tumor markers - Monday, September 01, 2014 10:22 PM
I do not understand tumor markers but believe it is best if they are "down" and stay that way. There are others on this site who could probably enlighten you. Best wishes to you and your mother.
Lumpectomy 4/14/05 at age 69
Stage 1, 2cm, Node Negative
Grade 3, Triple Negative
AC/Taxol, Radiation,
BRCA2 positive (It's always something!)
No Family History
Tricia Keegan

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Re:Tumor markers - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 4:39 AM
Hi Elise- tumour markers are not reliable for everyone although in your Mothers case they have been correct in showing the cancer cells have spread, I think the cells release a protein that shows in the blood which indicates to the Dr that more testing is needed. 

I think it may be time to add a chemo to your Mothers treatment and with a good response she still can get in remission, if doing any research for her stick to reliable sites like www.breastcancer.org

Good luck and do reassure her there are many other meds out there for her to try as well as clinical trials if needed.
Tricia Keegan...From Ireland Dx July '05 IDC 3/9 nodes pos..triple positive..a/c x 4..Taxol/herceptin x 12
Herceptin 1yr ..rads x35 oophorectomy Aug '06
Currently taking Arimidex /Zometa 1 x yearly
Carepage- survivortricia
RaiderGirl

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Re:Tumor markers - Sunday, September 07, 2014 7:45 PM
Darling you need to ask the MD. I do know that markers are sensitive to so many factors like medications and that the readings are frequently wrong. When determining a patients condition the MD wont use just the marker test. He/she may use a marker test but also physical examination, symptoms , scans etc to determine the effects of treatment. Tumor markers alone is not enough. I am certain that the MD never used the words cure or remission. He/she may have said positive response, diminished growth or stabilized but cure or remission is just not possible. It is not hopeless. The metastasis can slow down considerably with meds, radiation and sometimes chemo. When choosing more chemo an MD must weigh the results of the chemo with the debilitating side effects. What the point of killing the cancer if the patient dies in the process? Number 1 rule of medicine is first do no harm. Confine these questions with the MD. Really ask. I hope for the best possible for both you and your mother.
DX July 26 2014, IDC- StageII-3.2cm, grade 1, no lymph, ER+PR+ HER- Oncotype-DX 12. Lumpectomy 7/2/14 both breasts. Radiation, AI inhibitors therapy.
Tricia Keegan

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Re:Tumor markers - Monday, September 08, 2014 2:54 PM
Hi Elise- despite the post/comments here I can assure you that it is indeed possible to get into remission (or NED as we say here..No Evidence of Disease)  and I've known quite a few stage iv ladies who have managed this so don't give up hope.  One of the oldest stage iv survivors I know was given a year to live in 1998, this lady is still in remission today although has had some ongoing treatment over the years, sending good wishes to your Mom.
Tricia Keegan...From Ireland Dx July '05 IDC 3/9 nodes pos..triple positive..a/c x 4..Taxol/herceptin x 12
Herceptin 1yr ..rads x35 oophorectomy Aug '06
Currently taking Arimidex /Zometa 1 x yearly
Carepage- survivortricia

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