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  • Worried About Beta HCG

    Hi there everyone, sorry for not checking in for awhile, but I have all of you in my thoughts and prayers. I am really worried right now, and I probably shouldn't be. I am a single guy with a somewhat good job at a small community clinic in my hometown. Paying medical bills even after insurance for a single guy is very tough. Rent, utilities and daily living expenses take a big chunk out of my paychecks and surviellence is very expensive. I have not missed a surviellence check as of now and don't intend to. To try and make it more affordable for me, I convinced my doctor to let me do my lab work and chest x-ray at my place of employment instead of having to drive an hour to his clinic. The deal was that my AFP, HCG, and LDH were going to be sent to the same Lab facility (Quest Dianostics) so that way there is consistency on my labs. Well I had my labs done on Monday and asked on Thursday at my clinic and asked the lab tech if the labs report had came in so she could fax them to my provider. She told me that they did the HCG in house and that it was done but the others hadn't come back from Quest yet. I was a bit suprised that my HCG was done inhouse since my provider's clinic is quite a bit larger and even they don't do the HCG for tumor markers inhouse. She told me that they did them all the time as a pregnacy serum test for women and that it was basically the same thing. She told me that my HCG was at 4.83 and I almost fainted. I told her that on all my past surviellence test it has been undetectable even two months ago and now it is 4.83. I talked to my provider scared out of my mind and he said something about having the test redone and sent to Quest. He said something about special enzymes and that only a lab that is capable in checking for tumor markers should perform my lab. He told me that is why my tumor markers were never ran at his facility. The lab technician that did my HCG at my clinic told me not to worry about it. His exact words were "that it wasn't 5 so I had nothing to worry about" I mean I know that the test is the same as a pregnacy serum test but does it really matter on the technician doing the test and how much experience he has at interpreting the test. I am at month 15 on my surviellence journey and my HCG has always been the same. I am just worried. Thanks for letting me vent.
    Right I/O- 9/12/2005

  • #2
    hi tony...i'm not an expert but a friend of my mother make a similar bad experience...she move for work during sourveiilance and simply the new lab was using a different commercial kit for the same test. The result was ok but numerically different. Shure...she was scared but she did another test in the first clinic and everything was ok. Do it again as soon as possible in the first lab!
    ...try to relax! we are with you!
    bye
    left I/O 1/9/07 - 95% embrional carcinoma 5% seminoma with vascular invasion afp 27 bhcg 80- 2/10/07 ct and markers clean, left rplnd 4/23/07 3 microscopic lynph node found with ec - 3/30/09 all clean

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    • #3
      Hi Tony,
      I strongly suspect that if your repeat the test at Quest it will be back down to the lower limits it has been at all along. I know it's hard not to worry, but a different lab using a different assay can make all the difference in the numbers. Listen to your doc, not the lab tech, and repeat the test...then report back to us with another "all clear"!
      Retired moderator. Husband, left I/O 16Dec2005, stage I seminoma with elevated b-HCG, no LVI, RTx15 (25Gy). All clear ever since.

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      • #4
        Tony:
        I understand your concern but this happens all the time. You're 15 months out with never having a problem and I would be surprised if you had one now. When the labs get redone your numbers will back where they were.
        Son Jason diagnosed 4/30/04, stage III. Right I/O 4/30/04. Graduated College 5/13/04. 4XEP 6/7/04 - 8/13/04. Full open RPLND 10/13/04. All Clear since.

        Treated by Dr. Rakowski of Midland Park, NJ. Visited Sloan Kettering for protocol advice. RPLND done at Sloan Kettering.

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        • #5
          Thanks everyone. Tomorrow I am going in to work late so I can go to my doctor's clinic and get my hcg done. I was thinking about having them draw my blood at my clinic (where I work), and have them send them out to quest diagnostics but for some reason I feel safer taking the hour drive. I am pretty sure that my lab work is going to come out all right the second time, but just seeing those numbers that my clinic came to, just freaked me out(I mean 15 months of undetectable to almost 5). Thanks again for the support and as soon as I hear back from Quest I will post the numbers. Take Care
          Right I/O- 9/12/2005

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          • #6
            Well I got my results of my AFP and LDH from Quest and both came back fine. So that tells me that when I get my redone HCG from them it will come back fine also. I will keep you all informed. Thanks
            Right I/O- 9/12/2005

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tonytigre
              Well I got my results of my AFP and LDH from Quest and both came back fine. So that tells me that when I get my redone HCG from them it will come back fine also. I will keep you all informed. Thanks
              I am so glad to hear this news...I have been following your post and I know how anxious those first tests were for you. I am happy everything turned out normal.

              Margaret
              Co-survivor with husband Boyce, Diagnosed 7-11-06, orchiectomy right testicle on 7-12-06- Stage 3A: Mixed germ cell tumor with inguinal seminomatous and kartotypic carcinoma. One tumor over 10 cm, second tumor 4 cm, Chemo 4xBEP: Bi-lateral RPLND Dec 2006, nerve sparing but left sterile.
              Current DVT
              Current testosterone replacement therapy, Testim.

              "You must abandon the life you planned, to live the life that was meant for you" ~wisdom I have learned from my family on this forum

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              • #8
                Just wanted to let everyone know that my HCG came back from Quest yesterday and it was undetectable. I am so relieved and I appreciate all the support. I am now going to make sure my tumor marker labs always go through quest. Take Care
                Right I/O- 9/12/2005

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                • #9
                  All I can say to that is have a GRRRREEEEAAAAAAAT day tonytigre.
                  Son Jason diagnosed 4/30/04, stage III. Right I/O 4/30/04. Graduated College 5/13/04. 4XEP 6/7/04 - 8/13/04. Full open RPLND 10/13/04. All Clear since.

                  Treated by Dr. Rakowski of Midland Park, NJ. Visited Sloan Kettering for protocol advice. RPLND done at Sloan Kettering.

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                  • #10
                    We're all relieved right along with you! Great news, Tony!!
                    Scott, [email protected]
                    right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since


                    Your donation funds Livestrong services for people facing cancer now. Please sponsor my ride!

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                    • #11
                      Terrific news!! My husband had seminoma with elevated bHCG and the lesson I learned from Don when his bHCG kept creeping up was that low testosterone can result in an elevation of HCG. So if bHCG really does rise make sure you get your testosterone level checked, as well as the labs repeated.
                      Retired moderator. Husband, left I/O 16Dec2005, stage I seminoma with elevated b-HCG, no LVI, RTx15 (25Gy). All clear ever since.

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                      • #12
                        Great news! I guess it pays to have consistency in testing. I think we all get a little nervous when we hear about these things. Now, go enjoy yourself! Dianne
                        Spouse: I/O 8/80; embryonal, seminoma, teratoma; RPLND 9/80 - no reoccurrence - HRT 8/80; bladder cancer 11/97; reoccurrence: 4X
                        Son: I/O 11/04; embryonal, teratoma; VI; 3XBEP; relapse 5/08; RPLND 6/18/08 - path: mature teratoma

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