My wife is 13 years out from being diagnosed with stage I breast cancer (node negative)/had lumpectomy; 6 and half years out from a second breast cancer (it was a new breast cancer, not a recurrence)/had a bilateral mastectomy. Just recently had blood work done, CA 27.29. Her levels over the years (blood test every 6 months) have been between 38 - 42. This time the level jumped to 80, waited two weeks and the level came done to 60. Our oncologist first suggested a pet scan and cat scan, but after speaking with him, he said he was comfortable with waiting a couple of weeks to take the blood test again.
Since the CA 27.29 test is being used in my wife's case to detect if the cancer has spread-metastasis, would the numbers drop as they did from 80 to 60 if something was going on? And lastly, since my wife is perimenopausal, can that have an effect on the CA 27.29 levels?
At the present the utility of the CA 27.29 test for the detection of early breast cancer recurrence is still controversial, and there are no standard recommendations for this. However, some specialized centers and oncologist are using this based on their personal or their center's experience and own recommendations.
With this said, it is very hard to interpret the drop from 80 to 60 especially in someome with no other symptoms pertaining to cancer recurrence. The decision to have further tests done will depend on the comfort levels of both the patient and the doctor, and there may be no right or wrong decision at this point. If the levels remain elevated after two weeks, then it might be prudent to have additional tests (PET CT) done.
Thank you for the reply to my post. In my own research I have found that the CA 125 test should not be taken during a women's menstrual cycle, since it can cause elevated levels (false positives). Is this also true for the CA 27.29 test?
On the day my wife had her highest reading of 80, she was on the last day of her menstrual cycle and experiencing heavy bleeding.
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