Topic: I don't understand the bloodwork

My liver tumor burst and I have spots in my abdomen so no surgery.  I don't understand my blood work and I won't see the dr for a few weeks to ask him.  My bilirubin is .1,
CA 19-9 is 3.  How can this be with cc?  Does anyone else get numbers like this?  My liver panel is also normal and I have no obstruction of the bile ducts.  Yet, I am Stage IV.  Does anyone else have a situation like this?  I had my second chemo treatment today.

Re: I don't understand the bloodwork

Hi Barbara,  Sorry I can't help you but there are many great people on this site that could, and I'm sure they will post soon.
Where are you being treated?  Your CA is very low, which is good.  If you're not satified with the answers you are getting, find a new doctor and hospital. Since this is very rare, many doctors don't have experience with it and therefore don't have the right answers. 
Let everyone know where you are at and I'm sure you will get some feedback on hospitals/doctors in your area.
Good Luck and keep fighting.

I miss you more and more everyday. 
RFL 6/28/58-12/27/08

Re: I don't understand the bloodwork

I live near San Diego and am being treated at UC San Diego by the digestive cancer group of oncologists at the Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla.

Re: I don't understand the bloodwork

As for the CA 19-9, my oncologist says that not all cc tumors produce this chemical. If a tumor does produce it, then it's a useful way to keep track of what's going on, but if it doesn't produce it, then the number doesn't mean anything. Mine doesn't produce it so they've stopped giving me the test.

Hope this helps.

Peace, hope, and healing to all!

Re: I don't understand the bloodwork

Hi Barbara,

I know it's frustrating trying to decipher lab tests.  I work in the Medical laboratory and here is a website I use frequently.  It's sponsored by all of the national groups and agencies that monitor medical labs so it's a realiable one.  Maybe it will help:

Also don't hesitate to call your doctor's office and ask to speak to the "triage" nurse and give her your questions that need answering or to pass along to the doctor if she can't answer them.  You don't need to be endlessly worried til your appointment.  As I tell my Mom and Dad, you are paying for a service and should get your money's worth. *grin*.

Also remember when your doctor does multiple tests, he's not only looking at actual values or results but also at the larger picture of how these tests can fit together.

In regards to staging here is another website: … on/staging

Once a cancer has spread to another organ, it's generally considered Stage IV.  For instance since my Mom's CC has spread to her lungs by the time she was diagnosed her cancer was considered Stage IV.

Hope this is helpful.  Know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers!


My Mom lost her one year battle with CC on April 3, 2009.

"A prognosis is simply an audit of how truly precious each day is.  Live each day to the maximum, celebrate what was, and what is - Don't spend your life looking forward to what will or might be." .... words of wisdom from my beloved son on hearing of his grandmother's CC prognosis.