What is this crazy table you might ask? It is my gospel. I live and die by the numbers I get from this lab test every month.
The cancer antigen 27.29 (CA 27.29) is a blood test specifically for those with breast cancer and can be used for many things. It is considered a tumor marker and can be used in part with other tests to diagnose breast cancer, although it is rarely used as the only diagnostic criteria. It can be used to monitor how well someone is responding to treatment. If the levels rise, that might indicate that the cancer is progressing which means a different or more aggressive treatment is needed. If the levels fall (as thank god mine have), it might indicate that the current treatment is killing the cancer cells effectively. And finally, it can be an early indicator for those who had early-stage breast cancer who had been previously in remission that there might be a recurrence of their cancer and additional testing should be done.
I get super antsy as I near appointment time every month. My nerves become incredibly frayed and my temper and patience become non-existent. Before each appointment I have my blood drawn for a host of things, the most important being my tumor markers. It is the most important test of the bunch. Unfortunately? It is a test that gets sent to an outside laboratory.
This means each time I see my doctor and he tells me how pleased he is with my progress, there is always a dark cloud for another 36 hours or so. I don’t know for another couple days if my tumor markers have continued to trend down, or if the unthinkable has happened and they went up.
I have six days until my next appointment with my oncologist. Eight more days or so until I find out if I can do a happy dance or if I will find myself facing the worst case scenario after only two cycles of my new medication regimen.
Let the nervous breakdown begin.
Dx 10/9/2018, invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), left breast, 1.5cm, Nottingham Grade 6, hormone receptor positive, ER+ (estrogen receptor)/PR+ (progesterone receptor), HER2- (human epidermal growth factor), BRACA- (genetic mutation), Stage IV, metastasized to bones
First CA 27.29 10/9/2018 83 (goal <38)
Hormonal Therapy 10/12/2018 Tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) pills
Targeted Therapy 10/12/2018 Xgeva (Denosumab) injection
Hormonal Therapy 10/19/2018 Lupron Depot (Leuprolide Acetate) injection
Surgery 11/29/2018 Vaginal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy
First CA 27.29 post hysterectomy 12/10/2018 73 (goal <38)
Hormonal Therapy 12/11/2018 Femara (letrozole) pills
Targeted Therapy 12/23/2018 Ibrance (palbociclib) capsules
First CA 27.29 post medication change 1/10/2019 60 (goal <38)