Friday, November 12, 2010

If your man tests positive for pregnancy.......

Then he could have testicular cancer.

HCG, the same hormone the placenta produces, is a biomarker for testicular cancer. When Lance Armstrong battled testicular cancer, his blood levels were higher than any pregnant lady's. By monitoring the levels, it could be quickly assessed whether his treatment was working, which luckily for him, it was.

Only some breast cancers produce markers that could be measured; TNBC usually does not.
Ovarian cancer produces a CA-125 antigen. Measuring this antigen in asymptomatic women is not a useful screening tool as there are too many false positives. However, in women who already had ovarian cancer, it is very reliable in detecting metastases. A recent study concluded that this was a mixed blessing. They found no difference in overall survival between women who were treated at the first sign of an elevated CA-125 and women who waited for actual symptoms to appear. If this is indeed true, then why bother with the CA-125? It would be hard to do 'nothing', when you have reason to believe a tumor is reforming.

There was this sweet woman in my LiveStrong class. On the last day, she told me she was resuming chemo as her CA-125 levels were rising. She did not know where the mets were, though she had been thoroughly scanned, but assumed they were somewhere. Despite the chemo, they must have reared their ugly heads at some point as I read her obit less than a year later.

I was reading someones Stage 4 BC blog the other day. She took issue with the word 'survivor' to describe early stage breast cancer patients that did not succumb to their disease. She says the word somehow implies that these women did something beyond merely endure treatment that the Stage 4 ladies did not, a variation of blaming the victim. I don't think I agree with her but she is in a world that I fortunately am not. Previous to getting cancer, I would have thought telling the newly diagnosed that they would be OK would not be insulting but once there in Cancerland, it bugged the hell out of me as it seemed to belittle my concerns. I COULD DIE!!!! Oh don't be silly, so and so survived it.

The other day in our group, a lady announced that she had bursitis of the trochanter, a painful condition. Another lady enthusiastically said that was good news.
Good news!?! She can barely walk! I was puzzled.
Well it isn't cancer, the good news lady said. It turns out that her BC returned 10 years after initial treatment to her outer trochanter, part of the femur under the hip and the woman with the bursitis thought she might be experiencing the same thing. Anything but cancer.

It is close to 70 out. It probably won't be this warm again until March. I had a nice run. Naomi and Maya are here resting. Maya is becoming much more interactive; smiling and cooing following us with her eyes. She still doesn't do the baby tricks some kids her age do such as roll over but she's a big girl, almost 2 lbs more than her mother was at the same age. Today I was to help Naomi figure out her next step but she wants to put that off a little longer.

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