Are tumor markers reliable?

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Question from Ruth: Do tumor markers in the blood always show if breast cancer has spread and/or if you have developed another separate cancer?
Answers - Larry Norton, M.D. Tumor markers in the blood are helpful but not definitive. Some patients can have growing disease and the markers do not become elevated. Others have elevated markers but no disease. Tumor markers are often a source of anxiety that is unnecessary because they are helpful, but not absolute in terms of their meaning. For this reason, tumor marker results have to be interpreted by an expert oncologist.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer featured Larry Norton, M.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about managing day-to-day life with metastatic breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2007.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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