thank you so much for your questions and comments.
For women who had an elevated CA 125 at diagnosis, this test is the most sensitive tool to detect a recurrence. In fact,most women who have experienced an ovarian cancer that makes the CA 125 protein, if they have a recurrence, the CA 125 will go up usually before any symptoms or any xray findings.
Now women are all different and there are many different subtypes of ovarian cancers. Some ovarian cancers behave by spreading in the lining of the abdomen or by causing malignant fluid (ascites) For those women, if cancer grows back on the lining of the peritoneum, they will experience bloating, changes in bowel habits, swelling of the abdomen, and even intestinal obstruction.
There are some women whose only sign of recurrence is shortness of breath from new malignant fluid in the chest cavity
Other ovarian cancers behave by only involving lymph nodes. They may not involve the lining of the abdomen at all. Growth of cancer in lymph node can cause pain such as back pain or hip pain. Sometimes an enlarged lymph node can compress the blood vessels that the lymph nodes lie on top of. This can lead to leg swelling or a blood clot in the vein. This can be diagnosed by CT scan.
When you have been diagnosed with a cancer, it is like Alice in Wonderland walking through the looking glass. The world never looks the same. And your relationship to your body is never the same again. Part of the challenges of survivorship is learning to live with your new body and new life. And finding a way of managing the fear that the cancer could come back.
Hello, sorry you are going through this. What is your stage? Your age? You seem to have received good care. I know what you mean about every headache and every cough... you will continue to be very in tune with your body! I have asked this same question on this site and never receive an answer. My onc doesn't treat me as though one day I WILL have a recurrence. I believe that until your CA-125 doubles in 2 successive tests, then you'll be sent for additional tests. Hope this helps. Take care.
Thanks so much for your response - I know I'm not alone (and I wish I was, for the sake of every other woman afflicted), but I wish I could get an answer on recurrance symptoms! I mean, I had lower back pain & bloating before being diagnosed, but who the hell doesn't?? CA-125 is a highly inaccurate test (both false positives and false-negatives), so now that my level is "4", how do I know if I'm in trouble again?
My doctor has assured me that mine isn't coming back either, but I'm pretty sure that everyone's doctor gives them the same reassurance and hope.
I am 39 years old, and I was lucky enough to be found at Stage IC. What about you?
I was diagnosed Dec 2005 when I was 42. I am also 1C. I had 6 rounds of chemo because they found clear cell as well. I have continued to have bad hip and lower back pain. My onc has my bone density checked every year because I already have osteopenia. Result of surgical menopause and opting not to receive HRT.
So, I just tell myself that every ache and pain is a part of getting older. Ha!
I'll take hip and lower back pain over a cancer recurrance any day! And getting older sure beats the alternative, so GOOD FOR YOU!! Thanks for your responses - keep on getting older, my friend!