I completely agree with Cathy's wonderful input. I would recommend a laparoscopy to take a look at your ovaries. There are many things that can cause a mild elevation in the CA 125. However, once you are through menopause, even a mild elevation should be carefully evaluated. In the premenopausal time of life, many, many benign conditions cause a mild elevation - menses, endometriosis, infection, fibroids. Not so after menopause.
Its the upward trend of the ca 125 that is significant coupled with symptoms. There is no reason to wait 6 months for another ca 125. Any doctor can order it. A month is reasonable. I would not let your GYN operate on you. If you decide to do any surgery, have it done by a gynecological oncologist. Then if he finds any thing he can take care of it. Having your uterus removed does not protect you from ovarian cancer, especially since you still have your ovaries. I had multiple ultrasounds which didn't indicate ovca, as well as cat scans that they claimed were negative and I had ovarian cancer. There are reasons other than cancer for an elevated ca 125, but I would not take the chance if were in your shoes. Going with my gut is what saved my life. Within 6 months my ca 125 went from 11 at my first complaints to 39 and then 69 at surgery, where they found stage llc grade 3 ovarian cancer. I had symptoms for 2 years before the surgery.
Thanks so much for the important info, it helps comfirm my thoughts exactly. I have had for 2 years at least, a lightning shock pain on the right side, only happens about once a month, not if that isn't telling me something, nothing is. After reading Gildner Radner's book about her dying to be saved from ovarian cancer for years is forever in my mind, I cried when I read her book maybe about 10 years ago. I loved her on Saturday Night Live. I think about her all the time, the book had a profound affect on my life. I just went to this new GYN, would there be a gynecological oncologist in his group I wonder, I will look into it. I really want to wait till Jan. so I can get my vacation time, I am a State Employee, we do not have TDI, I do however buy short term disability and cancer insurance, thank God, from Aflac. I will have my CA 125 checked in a month to see where it is. I really appreciate you answering me, it means alot to me, I can't thank you enough. Does smoking cause the levels to go up, I have been a social smoker for 30 years, just quit a few months ago, the doctor told me it did, I can not find it anywhere online? So, did you do all the chemo and radiation? How are you today? You are a special person to help people like me. Thanks a million times over.
I know smoking isn't good in general for cancer, but don't know if it affects a ca 125. I am fine. Its been 7 years. I did 6 months of infusions of taxel and carboplaten, followed by 6 months of a pill form of chemo called Hexalen. I also changed the way I eat to a more healthy diet, try to exercise more and not get stressed as much. I see a chronic illness MD who helps guide me. The key to long term survival is early diagnosis.
I am getting a second opinion with an gynecological oncologist, I will let you know how I make out.
Thanks to both of you, I always appreciate the help.
smoking does not elevate the CA 125. It does elevate another tumor marker called CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen).
here is a segment on CEA form NCI mail:
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is normally found in small amounts in the blood of most healthy people, but may become elevated in people who have cancer or some benign conditions. The primary use of CEA is in monitoring colorectal cancer, especially when the disease has spread (metastasized). CEA is also used after treatment to check for recurrence of colorectal cancer. However, a wide variety of other cancers can produce elevated levels of this tumor marker, including melanoma; lymphoma; and cancers of the breast, lung, pancreas, stomach, cervix, bladder, kidney, thyroid, liver, and ovary.
Elevated CEA levels can also occur in patients with noncancerous conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and liver disease. Tobacco use can also contribute to higher-than-normal levels of CEA.
Rarely, CEA is elevated in some ovarian cancers of the mucinous type