My 78 yr. old mother is an 8 yr. breast cancer survivor. She was recently diagnosed with stage 1 non-Hodgkins lymphoma (needle biopsy) and has started radiation therapy. I noticed on her bloodwork she is being tested weekly for 2 tumor markers: CA 15-3 and CEA. Her CEA is within normal range but her CA 15-3 is 45.5 with normals being 0-38.4. Is it normal for the CA 15-3 to be elevated even when the lymphoma is not secondary to the breast cancer? I understand there are non-cancerous conditions that can elevate CA 15-3 levels, but can the presence of lymphoma elevate the level as well, or is it possible her cancer is secondary to breast cancer? Thank you for your opinion.
In researching CA 15-3 further, there are cancers other than breast (lung, ovarian, endometrium, bladder, GI) that can cause elevated levels. My best guess is that because my mother's NHL is deep in her left abdomen, the CA 15-3 and CEA are being monitored to keep a close watch on possible metastasis to the GI tract or stomach. Does that sound logical to you?
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