What Will The Her2/neu Results Tell Me
There are four tests for HER2, and results of these may appear on your pathology report, which may take several weeks to come back.
The first one is the IHC test, which is short for ImmunoHistoChemistry. It looks at whether there is excess HER2 protein in the cancerous cells. A result of 0 or 1+ indicates there is no excess, 2+ is borderline, and 3+ means the cells test positive for HER2 protein overexpression.
The remaining three tests all examine if the cells contain too many copies of the HER2 gene. These tests include:
- The FISH test
- The SPoT-Light HER2 CISH test
- The Inform HER2 Dual ISH test
There are only two possible results for these three tests: positive, meaning HER2 gene amplification, or negative, indicating the number of HER2 genes is not excessive.
In the pathology report, breast cancers with HER2 protein overexpression and HER2 gene amplification are called HER2-positive. This type of cancer often grows faster, spreads to other areas more readily, and has a higher likelihood of recurring versus HER2-negative breast cancer.
What Happens During A Tumor Marker Test
There are different ways to test for tumor markers. Blood tests are the most common type of tumor marker tests. Urine tests or biopsies may also be used to check for tumor markers. A biopsy is a minor procedure that involves removing a small piece of tissue for testing.
If you are getting a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
If you are getting a urine test, ask your health care provider for instructions on how to provide your sample.
If you are getting a biopsy, a health care provider will take out a small piece of tissue by cutting or scraping the skin. If your provider needs to test tissue from inside your body, he or she may use a special needle to withdraw the sample.
What Are The General Warning Signs Of Cancer
While any persistent symptom warrants medical attention, watch for these signs and symptoms that could indicate a serious disease, including a malignancy:
- Unexplained weight loss with sudden loss of appetite that continues despite good nutrition.
- Persistent low-grade fever.
- White patches in the mouth.
- A lump or thickened area that can be felt through the skin.
Read Also: Is Chemo Always Needed For Breast Cancer
Personalised Test Works On All Types Of Breast Cancer Researchers Find
Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile
A new blood test has been shown to detect the return and spread of breast cancer more than 10 months before symptoms emerge.
Tests on the blood of women who had been treated for breast cancer found that cancer DNA had returned an average of 10.7 months before patients developed symptoms or secondary tumours became visible on scans.
The liquid biopsy test, developed by scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, was found to work in all types of breast cancer.
These new blood tests can work out which patients are at risk of relapse much more accurately than we have done before, identifying the earliest signs of relapse almost a year before the patient will clinically relapse, said Nicholas Turner, professor of molecular oncology at the Institute of Cancer Research, who led the study.
We hope that by identifying relapse much earlier we will be able to treat it much more effectively than we can do now, perhaps even prevent some people from relapsing. But we will now need clinical trials to assess whether we can use these blood tests to improve patient outcome. We have launched the first of these studies already, and hope to launch large studies in the future.
Hdl Cholesterol Blood Testing And Lower Cancer Risk
New research provides another reason to monitor your cholesterol through blood testing and increase your High density lipoproteins cholesterol, also known as good cholesterol, through diet and exercise. The study suggests that increasing your HDL by 10 points can reduce your risk of cancer by one third over the following years. HDL has long been known to decrease your risk of heart disease.
Blood tests that can detect the signs of various forms of cancer are important diagnostic tools, often providing the first indication that a person may have cancer. However, it is important to note that, in most cases, further testing is necessary for a definitive diagnosis. Generally, that will include biopsy, which is a procedure to obtain a sample of potential cancerous cells for testing. Additionally, false positives and false negatives are possible with some cancer blood tests, so it is important that other symptoms and health factors are taken.
Recommended Reading: Does Chemo Really Work For Breast Cancer
New Cancer In The Breast
This type of recurrence typically occurs many years after the original cancer and in an entirely different area of the breast. Its pathology is often differentlobular instead of ductal, for example. These second cancers are not too common, but they remain possible as long as you have your breast. These should be treated as a completely new cancer, much as with new cancers in the opposite breast. Most often the local treatment will be a mastectomy, since you can receive radiation therapy only once to any area. However, the newer approaches of partial breast radiation may change this. The addition of chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy will depend on the size and biomarkers of the tumor.
What Happens If Any Of These Tests Are Positive Or Indicate Possible Ovarian Cancer
It is recommended that you should see a gynecologist, specifically a gynecologic oncologist immediately. The gynecologic oncologist is a gynecologist who is also a cancer specialist.
Remember, although it may sometimes be difficult to find in its early stages, you can do so. You must know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and listen to your body. Your awareness is the first test against this disease.
Recommended Reading: Does Breast Hurt With Cancer
How To Test For Ovarian Cancer
The American Cancer Society has estimated that approximately 22,240 new instances of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 2018 in the United States. Of those women, 14,070 are expected to die of the disease. The risk of developing ovarian cancer over a woman’s lifetime is 1 in 79, and her risk of death from invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 109.
What Are The Treatments Available For Breast Cancer
Surgery remains the standard choice of treatment for diagnosed breast cancer say most physicians. There are two broad types of surgery, depending upon diagnosis, medical recommendations, family history and personal preference: breast-conserving which typically removes just the tumor but saves the breast, and mastectomy in which the entire breast is removed.
Within those two broad surgical choices are different types of surgical procedures that include:
- Lumpectomy removes only the breast lump and a margin of surrounding tissue.
- Partial mastectomy tumor, breast tissue and chest muscle lining are removed some lymph nodes may also be removed.
- Total mastectomy the entire breast is removed but not the underarm lymph nodes or underlying muscle.
- Radical mastectomy extensive surgery that removes the entire breast, lymph nodes and chest wall muscles.
- Double mastectomy sometimes used as a preventive measure for high-risk women.
In nearly all cases, reconstructive plastic surgery is available and performed. Radiation, chemo and other follow-up therapy may also be prescribed, depending upon the progression of the cancer and recommendations made by healthcare providers.
Personal choice is also involved: in one study half of women whom experts said were eligible for lumpectomy chose a mastectomy instead. In addition, some younger women are choosing double mastectomies as a preventive measure if they are at high risk of developing breast cancer. .
Read Also: Can Breast Cancer Cause Menstrual Irregularities
Mastectomy: Stand Up To Cancer Launches Powerful Photo Campaign
Breast cancer is the UKs most common cancer, with around 55,000 women and 350 men being diagnosed each year.
Once the disease returns and spreads it cannot be cured and almost all of those who die from breast cancer will have seen it spread.
The researchers looked at the potential of personalised blood tests tailored to the DNA make-up of each tumour in just over 100 women in five UK hospitals.
Limitations Of Blood Tumor Markers
An abnormal blood tumor marker result does not necessarily mean you have cancer. For example, only about one in four abnormal prostate-specific antigen results is due to cancer, and approximately 15% of prostate cancer is missed.
There are many reasons for abnormal PSA levels. Similarly, carcinoembryonic antigen , a tumor marker used in colon cancer, is only made in 70 to 80% of colon cancers. Therefore, 20 to 30% of people with colon cancer will not have a raised CEA level.
Tumor blood markers aren’t typically able to diagnose cancer independently but can be combined with other tests for diagnosis. Tumor blood markers can also:
- Monitor the progression of cancer to see whether or not treatments are working
- Determine whether or not cancer has recurred after treatment or surgery
- Help determine the cancer stage
- Help determine the best treatment
- See if a tumor is growing or spreading to other parts of the body
Positive test results may be due to a noncancerous condition. Your doctor can help you understand the results of tumor blood markers and what they mean for you.
|Tumor Blood Markers Tests|
You May Like: What Are Some Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
How To Find Normal Values
Each lab has its own range for what it considers normal values for complete blood counts and chemistry panel results. Whats normal for one lab might not quite be normal for another, so its important to know what your labs normal range is when looking at your results. Normal ranges for some tests also vary by age and gender. As a rule, the normal ranges are printed on the lab report, next to your test results.
Common terms and numbers you may see on a CBC report and what they mean are on this chart:
Early Warning Signs Of Cancer And Risk Factors
It may surprise you, but cancer cells lie dormant in all of us. Thats because the body is a living organism that does not produce every single cell totally perfect. When these defective cells begin to multiple uncontrollably, a tumor forms.
About one in four people die of cancer but that means three-fourths of the population will not. So while cancer is a major disease, and one that should never be taken lightly, it doesnt strike everyone, even those who may be at risk. In addition, many cancers are survivable today, with a growing number of people in remission and even cancer-free.
What causes cancer and its mortality rate and how can the average person reduce their risk? The causes are many genetics contribute up to 15 percent of the mortality rate for cancer but other cancer causes are suspect, from environmental influences and chemical exposure to our lifestyle. For example, in the Western hemisphere, breast, colon and prostate cancer are more frequent than in Asia. Could that have something to do with our Western way of life?
Do you know any of the warning signs? One 2013 international report found that more than a quarter of all individuals surveyed couldnt name even one symptom of lung cancer. Despite the fact that many cancers can be cured if caught early, we too often fail to take precautions, ignore symptoms or wait too long to seek treatment all of which can be deadly.
Read Also: Can Breast Cancer Make You Feel Sick
Can Ovarian Cancer Be Diagnosed In Its Early Stages
Only about 20 percent of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease. This is because ovarian cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages. Many of the common symptoms can be mistaken for other illnesses or ailments and you may disregard them. About 80% of women are not diagnosed until a later stage, usually not until the cancer has spread.
It is vital that you familiarize yourself with the early symptoms of ovarian cancer, especially if you have a family history of the disease or a related cancer. Any cancer of the reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, or peritoneum , in your family could be a potential warning sign for you. A comprehensive cancer screening can allow for successful treatment.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Bloating or swelling of your abdomen
- Pain in your abdomen or pelvis
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- The need to urinate more frequently or urgently
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Pain in your low back
- Pain with sex
It is important to note that early symptoms of ovarian cancer can easily be attributed to some other condition. If you experience these symptoms and they continue for more than a couple of weeks, you should tell your doctor. A proper cancer screening allows for effective and preemptive care.
Complete Blood Count Test
A complete blood count test measures the number of blood cells circulating in the bloodstream. Specifically, this cancer blood test measures a blood sample for the level of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body white blood cells, which fight infection and platelets, which help with blood clotting. The test also measures hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen, and hematocrit, the ratio of red blood cells to plasma.
A CBC may be used to detect a variety of conditions, including leukemia, anemia and infection. Also, because some cancer treatments may temporarily lower blood counts, oncologists often use CBC tests throughout treatment to closely monitor a patients blood counts.
Don’t Miss: What Is Stage 3a Breast Cancer
Do You Need Tests For Later
Imaging tests. If your cancer is stage IIIB or IV, you should get an imaging test to look for cancer in other parts of your body. Treatment can depend on how much and where the cancer has spread.
Tumor marker tests. If you have later-stage breast cancer, your doctor may also use blood tests to look at tumor markers. These tests should be done only when it is known that you have advanced cancer.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Testing The Biopsy Samples
All samples removed by biopsy are sent to a pathologist to be looked at with a microscope. If cancer cells are seen, other types of lab tests might also be done to learn more about the exact type of cancer.
The pathologist will also assign the cancer a grade, which is a measure of how quickly it is likely to grow and spread, based on how the tumor cells look. Cancers that look somewhat like normal bone tissue are described as low grade , while those that look very abnormal are called high grade. For more on grading, see Bone Cancer Stages.
Read Also: What Happens If You Have Stage 4 Breast Cancer
Questions To Ask Your Health Care Team
Consider asking the following questions about your CBC test:
Why am I having this test?
How and where is this test done?
Do I need to avoid eating and drinking before the test? If so, for how long?
How will I get the results of my test?
What are normal test results?
What do my test results mean? Will someone explain them to me?
If my results are within a normal range, what are the next steps?
If my results are outside of a normal range, what are the next steps?
How do these test results compare with my previous results?
Will I need additional tests? If so, when?
How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Magnetic resonance imaging may be used to diagnose breast cancer.
Doctors often use additional tests to find or diagnose breast cancer. They may refer women to a breast specialist or a surgeon. This does not mean that she has cancer or that she needs surgery. These doctors are experts in diagnosing breast problems.
- Breast ultrasound. A machine that uses sound waves to make detailed pictures, called sonograms, of areas inside the breast.
- Diagnostic mammogram. If you have a problem in your breast, such as lumps, or if an area of the breast looks abnormal on a screening mammogram, doctors may have you get a diagnostic mammogram. This is a more detailed X-ray of the breast.
- Magnetic resonance imaging . A kind of body scan that uses a magnet linked to a computer. The MRI scan will make detailed pictures of areas inside the breast.
- Biopsy. This is a test that removes tissue or fluid from the breast to be looked at under a microscope and do more testing. There are different kinds of biopsies .
Read Also: Can Breast Cancer Be Cured
Cancer Blood Test Before Symptoms Arise
The problem with cancer lies in its early detection. Often, by the time symptoms like extreme weight loss, blood in urine, swollen lymph nodes, lumps in the breast, and other possible signs are detected, the cancer has already advanced. This is why a comprehensive cancer blood test is vital even before the symptoms are noticed.
Blood testing for cancer is especially important for people who have a history of the disease in the family. Patients who are in remission are given a schedule by their doctor of how often they need to get screened to check for a recurrence of the disease. But people who have never had cancer usually dont think of getting a check-up. And with so many types of cancer, it can be difficult to know what to look for and how many tests to get done.
Luckily, eight types of cancer can be detected using a single sample of blood, as they have markers that show up relatively early and are present in the bloodstream. One sample of blood can be used to test for all eight of these cancers and either rule out their presence or detect those that have developed. A cancer blood test is a good place to start for people who want to undergo annual cancer screening.