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Please let me know exactly what a ca count or number is. I have been reading that everyone knows their numbers. I haven't gotten any information about this numbrer from my doctor and I am getting very nernous again. Do I need to know this. Should I expect him to tell me. Thanks, Connie
Many women with ovarian cancer are monitored with a lab test called a CA-125. Normal for this test is under 35. It is not often used for other cancers, although some gyn oncs order it as part of their pre-hyst blood work.
Some gyn-oncs also use the CA-125 to monitor for recurrences of endometrial cancer. My gyn-onc ordered a CA-125 shortly after I completed treatment for endometrial cancer in 1999, and then annually for the first two years thereafter. Once I passed the two-year mark, I was no longer required to have the test.
This is not routinely done for all endometrial cancer patients, however. I was monitored more closely than other women who were treated for endometrial cancer because I was at an elevated risk for recurrence.
I would suggest you check with your gyn-onc to see whether he/she intends to use the CA-125 to monitor you.
Your gyn-onc is in the best position to go over all of your pathology results and advise you on your risk of recurrence. In my case, in addition to being a surgical stage 1C, grade 2, my gyn-onc had "clinically" staged me as a 2B because he was convinced after inspecting my uterus at the time of surgery that the tumor had invaded my cervix.
Other factors that increased my risk of recurrence were that my tumor had invaded 80% of the thickness of my myometrium. Tumor invasion into the outer 1/3 of the myometrium has been found to be a significant risk factor for recurrence. I also had extensive lymph-vascular space involvement (LVSI) by the tumor. This is not the same thing as having the tumor cells found in the lymph nodes (all 30 of my nodes removed were tumor-free). However, LVSI puts endometrial cancer patients at an increased risk of recurrence.
Because of the presence of the above factors, I had somewhere in the range of 30 to 45% chance of recurrence if I had no additional treatment after surgery. This was why I needed internal and external radiation, which reduced my risk of recurrence to the 15-20% range.
I completed treatment in August 1999, and have been recurrence-free since then. Good luck in getting your gyn-onc to answer all of your questions.