tumour markers advice pls


I recently had a blood test done called a CA15-3 to check tumour markers.

Are these done to check just if there is a secondary present?

The trial nurse said the normal ranger was 0-28 and mine was 33.

I know they are checking to see if I have a secondary as my MRI on fracture was apparently worrying.

I myself am in pieces as I am still on my chemo for primary dx January this year with only 2 lymph nodes. I won’t go into it all as I just can’t stop crying…how can this be???I feel so cheated after being told umpteen times…don’t worry, there wont be anything to worry about not yet !!!

Can anyone help me???

Love P xxxxx

Hi Paula, I have tumour markers checked too, but as far as I know it’s just to keep an eye on what is there/not there etc. CA15-3 limit on my tests is 31 and I’m 18. Some Onc’s swear by them, others don’t. I live in France and they don’t care about them, I ask because my Onc in UK swears by them. I also have CA125 done and it’s “norm” is 35 and this time I am 69, so I am pulling my hair out to know why this is. The hospital here doesn’t seem to care, so am waiting response from UK.

All confusing and stressful I know, but don’t worry, and I know it’s hard not too. Take care, thinking off you and sending positive vibes…


Hi Paula and Lezignac

You may find this link useful, it’s to a canccerbackup page which has information about tumour markers monitered in breast cancer:


Best wishes

Hi Paula
Sorry you are having such a stressful time. I don’t think a tumour marker of 33 implies bad stuff. I think that Dr’s get worried when they are way out like in the 100’s. Tumour markers are a real contentious issue amongst the docs as some swear by them and some don’t seem to take much notice. I think tumour markers are just used as part of the whole picture. For example someone with secondaries might have really really high markers and the docs would hope to see a reduction in the number as a response to treatment alongside stabilising of secondaries on scans and improved symptoms in the patient. So if you are feeling generally well, no other symptoms and your tumour markers are 33 I don’t think that necessarily implies you have a problem. That is my understanding of them anyway. I haven’t even been following mine so have no idea what the number is although I know they are measuring it. Am not sure if this is me being an ostrich? Good luck with your MRI result I hope this gets sorted for you. I really feel for you, as if we haven’t all been through enough sh*t with the diagnosis and treatment but the constant threat of what if in the future is a really hard aspect of this whole experience.
I hope this has helped in someway, good luck with it all

Lezignac2, i too live in France. My team swear by cancer marker (CA 15.3) and say its a good idication to whats going on in the body. They said if it reached 30 or 33 then they would do some tests -but it doesnt nessarsary mean you have it back. However she said its correct in 80 or 88% and well worth doing. I think they dont bother in UK so much because of the costs.