I was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago, had chemo and have been cancer free since. Last year I went to my gyno and had some tests all proved normal except my CA 125. Because of my history had a hysterectomy. Pathologies all normal. But CA125 keeps rising- 65 to 220. CT/PET Scan/Transvag ultrasound all clear. Go to Oncologist every three months. Where do I go from here, and why does my CA125 keep rising? Does it mean my cancer is back and just doesn't show up on any of the tests? Should I be concerned?
Dear gaylel: Why are they doing the CA125 test? This test is used to track diagnosed ovarian or primary peritoneal cancer. It can be elevated in many conditions, including cancer. Your situation illustrates why we should not do this test as a screening tool. Now that you have this information, you are worried, and justifiably so, that you have active cancer. However, there is NO objective evidence that you do. You have already had one possibly unnecessary procedure. Given this information, the only thing you can do is keep monitoring the situation. You can stick with intermittent objective tests and take it from there (don't do the CA125) or you can continue to do the CA125. The question is, if it continues to rise in the absence of any objective evidence of cancer, what will you do - other than worry, of course? In answer to your question - we don't know if your cancer is back or not. The CA125 is not usually used to track breast cancer and it's reliability as a tumor marker for this is questionable. You have not had ovarian or primary peritoneal cancer - so we do not know the significance of the CA125.
They did the CA 125 count because the nurse practitioner thought my right ovary was enlarged, so with my history of cancer, they ordered a trans vaginal ultrasound and a complete blood test including CA125. Ultrasound was clear, but the CA125 kept rising, so with my history of breast cancer, he thought we should do (I don't remember the name, exploratory), so instead of the exploratory we decided to do the hysterectomy since I had gone through menopause with my chemo, and that way we would be sure, and I wouldn't have to worry about ovarian cancer. I then went to my oncologist for my regular yearly checkup and he wanted to watch the count for a while to see what it does, so that's where we stand. So I guess I know it is really nothing, but still somewhat concerned.
First of all, I have no medical training or experience. And secondly, I felt compelled to write, but do not mean to cause any alarm. My mother has a BC hx and a rising CA125. It began rising last fall. Nothing on any scan. About four months after initial note of rise, mets to bone and now mets to bone marrow. I have searched for information on connection; little found. I did find a Finnish study that seemed to indicate a corelation. Her cancer center, a well known one, routinely does a CA125 marker test on BC patients. Relationship may be unknown or not understood, but PLEASE BE VIGILANT. Just my experience...
Thanks, for sharing. I have been looking everywhere for more information on CA 125 and can't find much. It is really frustrating for the count to go up and no one seems to know why, nor do they seem really concerned. I know it should not be used alone, and if everything else is okay, I should not worry too much. Sometimes I wish they would find something, at least then I would know. I feel fine, but I felt fine when I was first diagnosed too. I don't mean to sound stupid but what is "BC hx"? I assume Breast cancer, but what is the hx?
I did on search on elevated CA125 and found this forum. I had Hodgkins lymphoma in 1994 and chemo and am "cancer free". However, I went to a Nurse practitioner who did the CA125 when I went in in September 2002 for pelvic pain on the right side. I have had it repeated 6 times over the past year: 108, 55, 75, 49 78 and recently 110 (Sept 2003.
I have had a PET scan, fibroid removal and laparoscopy, CT scan, transvaginal ultrasound twice, mammogram, intravenous pylogram, colonoscopy, some blood and urine work I never heard of (phosphoresis blah blah blah). There is no cancer to be found. No one has any idea why this happens, and an oncological gynecologist told me to have a complete hysterical-ectomy, while my own OB-GYN gave me a choice: either have the hysterectomy or don't ever do the CA 125 again, just TV ultrasound and regular exams. My oncologist from the Hodgkins says it has nothing to do with anything from before and not a recurrence.
After a year of this, I have been ready to schedule a hysterectomy. I am 53 and in menopause since the chemo. But then, as someone else pointed out, why have ANOTHER unnecessary surgery. Any thoughts?
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