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Any other cancer tumor marker tests to have along with a repeat CA-125?

Discussion in 'Diagnostic Guidelines and Laboratory Testing' started by Bluebell, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. Bluebell

    Bluebell Senior Member

    I realize that cancer tumor marker tests are not typically discussed on this forum, but I thought I'd just take a chance and see if anyone might know about these things.

    Five weeks ago, I inadvertently took a CA-125 cancer tumor marker test (it's mainly for ovarian cancer detection, but it can also indicate many other tumors and health problems).

    It was inadvertent because I didn't mean to take it, but it was a part of a test panel that I ordered because that panel included a lot of other tests I did wish to take, and getting the panel was cheaper than buying them individually.

    The CA-125 test came back with a very high number, which unfortunately is 98% likely, for a woman of my age and situation, to indicate the presence of some sort of cancer. (The other 2% of women with my sort of high CA-125 number have non-cancerous problems that are typically still big and problematic, like cirrhosis of the liver.)

    I am going to do a retest of the CA-125, after a recommended 6-week interval, to make sure it wasn't just a fluke result (a mistake at the lab or something), and to see if the number has gotten even higher (definitely a bad sign), or maybe gotten lower (I guess that would be a good sign).

    I don't have many funds for this kind of testing, and I have yet to see a doctor about this (although I will, when I know more, and when I have health insurance coverage of some kind; for a further explanation of that, see my thread here:

    I'm due to have the retest of the CA-125 on Monday, and I'm just wondering if there are any additional cancer tumor marker blood tests that I can order for myself which could reasonably be expected to provide some additional information about what is going on with my health.

    I am wondering especially about CA 15-3 and CA 19-9.

    I know that in certain research studies, giving patients several different tumor marker tests at once has narrowed down the potential list of the types of cancer that they might have. For example:
    "All serum tumor markers were elevated in patients with ovarian carcinoma.
    Serum level of CA 15-3 was increased in patients with ovarian carcinoma (median 48.33 U/ml, normal range 0-36), while it was normal in patients with benign ovarian tumors (median 20.67 U/ml; p >0.05).
    CA125 serum values were strikingly increased in ovarian carcinoma (median 264.16 IU/ml, normal range 0-35) and benign ovarian tumors (median 119.59 IU/ml; p <0.05)."

    edited to add this from below:
    Mainly I was just wondering if anyone knows of specific tumor marker tests that could help me narrow down whether my CA-125 test was likely to be showing a malignant tumor or a benign tumor, and if there are any that could help me narrow down what area of my body the tumor is occurring in
  2. LaurieL

    LaurieL Senior Member

    I can't be of any help other than to let you know, if you go to the doctors data website, they do have a panel available. I can't tell you what is on the panel, but I do remember they test for several markers. It was something I was wanting to eventually do as well, this fall. Any info you gleen, would be much appreciated if you could also post it. With our genetics and our inability to detox, cancer would be a theoretical end point. My eyes are open. Thanks BB.

    Edit: I did a follow up and it is actually at direct labs. There is a kit that tests for 10 markers, including those mentioned by you, and also the Estronex profile discussed on another thread. I am assuming you did the CWP + CA 125 already?


    You should jump on health insurance immediately or they will have the right to deny your claims, by claiming a pre-existing condition. So you will be paying for it while waiting out the pre-existing clause, and you still won't be able to use it for anything concerning any correlating problems. In fact, I am pretty sure that is already the case.
  3. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

    hi bluebell. I am not aware of any other cancer tumor markers. would it be possible for you to ask your doctor to refer you for ultrasound testing of your ovaries? I am not sure which test is best...maybe an internal ultrasound?
  4. Bluebell

    Bluebell Senior Member

    Yes -- these things must be linked.

    Please be aware and monitor these issues, for your health!

    Thank you for looking into it!

    I had several of those markers tested in my big bunch of tests last month (I had some because they were recommended as being useful for showing what might be causing the damage to my optic nerves -- brain tumor or glaucoma or what). I wouldn't need to repeat those.

    The direct labs jumbo-sized test is quite expensive. I have looked into all the tumor marker tests and priced them individually and in panels - for my situation, getting a couple of individual tests from privatemdlabs and a couple of individual tests at labsdirect would be the cheapest combination. But I don't want to pay for them unless they will definitely help me in identifying what I might be dealing with.

    Mainly I was just wondering if anyone knows of specific tumor marker tests that could help me narrow down whether my CA-125 test was likely to be showing a malignant tumor or a benign tumor, and if there are any that could help me narrow down what area of my body the tumor is occurring in.

    There is no health insurance solution for me in my state. I already looked into it extensively when I suffered the optic nerve damage about 6 months ago. The only available coverage for me would have been very expensive per month, had an up-front deductible of many thousands of dollars, had a terrible % of co-pay required after the deductible was met, excluded lots of treatment options, included no prescription help, and the terms and conditions/exclusions document was 30 pages long and basically was a licence to take customer money without providing much insurance in return.

    The monthly premium quoted was not guaranteed in any way, and the company said they reserved the right to increase it however much they wanted one month after you signed up for the coverage - so signing up for the coverage gave them permission to charge you whatever they wanted in the future, without your approval. Published figures show that they increased the premium of 30% or so of new customers after that first month, sometimes hiking it by hundreds each month. The only thing you'd be able to do in protest would be to cancel your policy, but then you'd have lost out on the time and money you'd already spent on that policy. Also, due to some kind of transparency rules, there is a website that shows how many people applied for that insurance policy and were turned down, and 50% of applicants were turned down. All in all, that coverage would have made no sense for me to get.

    I'm not thinking that I deserve something for nothing -- I'm not saying I should have good healthcare for an affordable price if I'm unhealthy (though in a civilized society, I think that a citizen would, theoretically speaking, but that's a different debate).

    I do live in an awful area (it's not by choice, but by necessity), but this stuff goes on across the country. Sadly, anybody who thinks that the existing health insurance situation in America is remotely workable, rational, fair, affordable, or humane is dead wrong (at least until January 2014, when the new healthcare law goes into effect... at least it will go into effect for some citizens in some states, if not for me in my state :mad: )

    Also, FYI - in different states, there are different legal definitions and rules about what is a pre-existing condition. In my state, a pre-existing condition has to be something that has received a recorded diagnosis by a licenced healthcare professional, as far as I know. But this is a tricky area, surely. I would still need to declare everything I know about my health on an insurance application, and doing so would seem very likely to ensure that my application for the insurance would be flat-out denied.

    The only thing I can hope for is to wait 5 months until Jan 2013 (and then wait a further 3 months after that, in order to get pre-existing conditions included) and be covered under the new healthcare law's insurance for low-income adults who have no children.
    Ten states have decided not to cover low-income adults who have no children, because of an unintentional loophole in the law that allows them to choose to do this. I read in a reputable newspaper that this means 15 million adults in the US won't be covered by any insurance at all, despite the new law - they won't even be allowed to BUY the guaranteed coverage that will be provided to adults who earn over (whatever the minimum income is - I think it's $30,000 or something) a year!
    If the US government doesn't step in at the last minute and create some kind of cobbled-together program for these 15 million people to have equivalent coverage to their counterparts in the other 40 states, then I'll have to move to another state on my own before January, which won't be easy.

    I accept my situation, whatever it is. I'll do what I can. :) Maybe I'll be fine. I don't really want to ask for or take charity, if it were available in my area (I think that people assume it's more available than maybe it is). I am not allowed to go bankrupt due to my student loans (that I made with a co-signer, who I found out will even have to pay them if I die, so I should have taken out life insurance, I think), so medical bankruptcy is not an option. Thank goodness that there is a lot of information out there, private testing services, and nutritional supplements that are for sale over the counter. And, maybe I don't have cancer, or maybe it's a very slow-growing one, like apparently ovarian cancers can be (which is why the CA-125 test isn't encouraged for most people to take, because there is no clearly beneficial treatment path to go down if one gets a concerning result, like I did).
    Valentijn likes this.
  5. Bluebell

    Bluebell Senior Member

    Thank you for your comment, my fellow flower! :)

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