Thursday May 23, 1991
Lost one pound, though I don't deserve it. I've picked up some bad habits I must break.
Frank took me to see Dr. Bienstock and Dr. Bix this morning. Dr. Bienstock examined me. Said he could feel one tumor.
Dr. Bix had good news from my blood test. CA125 which measures cancer cells was 260 when I entered hospital April 9. Today it was 24 (normal is 22). That's great! White cell (immune) count was good; nothing to worry about. I must stay out of the sun, wear sunblock and a hat! So goest Hawaiian tan I planned.
Neither doctor is pleased that I threw up after chemo. I should have started anti-nausea drug earlier and continue 2 days. Or try new drug.
Had nice lunch out. Shopped our way home. Tired but happy. Called everyone to share the good news about CA125.
CA 125 is a protein, and a tumor marker or biomarker. CA 125 is present in greater concentration in ovarian cancer cells than in other cells. CA stands for cancer antigen. Increases in CA 125 can also occur with malignant tumors of the Fallopian tubes, lining of the uterus, lung, breast, and gastrointestinal track. Benign conditions such as infections of the abdomen, chest, menstruation, pregnancy, endometriosis, benign tumors of the ovaries, and liver disease can also raise CA 125.
Although CA 125 is a useful test in monitoring women who are being treated for ovarian cancer, a single CA 125 test is not considered to be a useful screening test for cancer. Some women with ovarian cancer (up to 20%) never have elevated CA 125 levels, while most women who do have elevated CA 125 levels do not have cancer. In fact, because CA 125 can be elevated in so many non-cancerous conditions, only about 3% of women with elevated CA 125 levels have ovarian cancer. I recently attended a seminar at Kaiser Permanente regarding genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer and was disappointed to learn that there is still no screening test available for ovarian cancer almost 20 years later. Once a woman has ovarian cancer there are no symptoms until the cancer is very advanced and probably life-threatening. That is why this type of cancer is so deadly.