Topic: CA19-9 blood test

Hello friends.  I was wondering if any of you could perhaps shed some light on CA19-9 results.  Before dad's surgery, his tumor marker test was over 300.  After they removed 80% of his liver, it was down to 55.  He goes in once a month to have the blood work, as it's our only measure since he has chosen a holistic approach to treatment.  This week, his CA was at 91.5.  We probably won't hear from his doctor until Monday, and the wait is killing me.  In your experience, does this mean the tumor is growing?  Is this a normal spike?  We have no pattern to look at as this is only the 2nd CA he's had since surgery.  I know the CA is not a guaranteed tool to use for diagnosis and is typically used w/ pancreatic cancer.  Maybe a CT scan is in order??  UGH...I am SO frustrated!!!!!

Health and Blessings to you all.

Re: CA19-9 blood test

I wouldn't worry too much. It could be a number of different things causing it to rise. My husband's jumped clear up to 3500 this year after bouts of infection and dealing with abcesses. It is now down to 2200 and we're actually happy about that and not even really worried about cancer being the cause. They have biopsied and scanned with cat scans and MRIs and don't see any changes. The scans are what they will rely on not the ca19 when diagnosing a recurrence. Are his other liver enzymes normal?   Mary

Re: CA19-9 blood test

Due to Tom's ever changing CA 19-9 I believe for Mary to have become an expert on this issue.  This particular protein marker in itself is not considered to be an accurate indication of progressive disease rather; its preferred application is for evaluation of chemotherapy responses.  And, that only in conjunction with other testing methods including, scans, blood tests, and the overall well being of the patient.  For some reason we like to focus on this marker possibly because, it allows us to think of it in clear facts.  (Numbers up vs. numbers down.)  But, I think this misconception causes us much anxiety.  I hope this helped you to relax a bit and enjoy the weekend.
Best wishes
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: CA19-9 blood test

Hello Mary and Marion!  Bless your hearts for replying...again, makes me feel like I'm not alone.  I don't know what dad's enzyme count is...not sure if they had that result on Friday yet or not, but we'll be asking on Monday..along w/ his bilirubin count.  The only results they gave us were the white blood count (4.2), red blood (13.3), and platelet (102).  I'm a little concerned b/c wouldn't these 3 only be relevent if he were going through chemo, etc.?  I guess it's all good info to have, but I'm MORE interested in the enzyme and bilirubin since the elevated enzyme and bilirubin lead us to the Klatskin's discovery in the first place.  Any thoughts on the counts above? 

Thank you!
Heather

Re: CA19-9 blood test

Heather...Cherbourg had given us the link to this and I find it to be of help when trying to understand the liver function test.
http://www.labtestsonline.org/understan … /test.html

Regarding enzymes I also find this site helpful:
http://www.medicinenet.com/liver_blood_tests/page2.htm
I hope this helped.  Please, remember that fluctuations are common and the physician is the best and most qualified resource for evaluating the tests.
Best wishes,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: CA19-9 blood test

The only time I am concerned about anything other than liver enzymes is when Tom is sick with an infection. In Feb he became septic after an ERCP and his platelets dropped to 28. He had to have a transfusion. Since then I always take a look at those numbers whenever he gets an infection, which has been way too often this year! They do seem to drop drastically when he is having problems. An elevated ca19 and alkaline phosphatase can be due to bile duct obstruction. Tom has a biliary stricture from radiation so this has always been an issue. I know you are just beginning this journey and all of these irregularities cause you to panic. I was the same way, but we've been dealing with this for almost 4 1/2 years now and I hate to say it but it has almost become routine. For us and many others here cc is a chronic condition that is just part of our lives. We're the lucky ones and hopefully your Dad will be too. I am a great believer in diet and supplements vs. chemo.  A healthy immune system will help fight cancer and infections.
  Keep in touch and let us know what his liver enzymes are. If his bilirubin and enzymes are elevated there may be a little obstruction. It would probably just be  scar tissue from the surgery. That's very common.
                            Take care and try not to worry too much!   Mary