4 doctors weighed in:
My friend who has breast cancer gets her tumor markers checked, my mother also had breast cancer, what are the markers and could I get checked?
4 doctors weighed in

Dr. Douglas Arenberg
Internal Medicine - Pulmonary Critical Care
2 doctors agree
In brief: Tumor "markers"
...Just don't work that well (outside of a few very specific tumors that don't include breast cancer), and should not be used to screen for cancer in someone without the disease.
The odds are that any positive test would be a falsely positive. As far as what tumor markers are used for breast cancer, none are used routinely, and i'd ask your friend what the markers her docs are using.

In brief: Tumor "markers"
...Just don't work that well (outside of a few very specific tumors that don't include breast cancer), and should not be used to screen for cancer in someone without the disease.
The odds are that any positive test would be a falsely positive. As far as what tumor markers are used for breast cancer, none are used routinely, and i'd ask your friend what the markers her docs are using.
Dr. Douglas Arenberg
Dr. Douglas Arenberg
Thank
Dr. Matt Malkin
Anesthesiology
In brief: BRCA 1 & 2
If you have strong family history of breast cancer, then you can ask your doc about testing.
Usually what happens is someone with cancer gets tested. If positive, then testing offered to other family members. As cost comes down, will probably test more people.

In brief: BRCA 1 & 2
If you have strong family history of breast cancer, then you can ask your doc about testing.
Usually what happens is someone with cancer gets tested. If positive, then testing offered to other family members. As cost comes down, will probably test more people.
Dr. Matt Malkin
Dr. Matt Malkin
Thank
2 comments
Dr. Douglas Arenberg
I agree with Dr. Malkin, but these aren't tumor markers in the sense you seem to be using the term. They are genes which, when known mutations are present, carry a very high risk for breast and ovarian cancer in the individual carrying the mutant gene. These are not markers one can "follow" once breast cancer is diagnosed. If your Mother has this mutation, you can and should be checked.
Dr. Douglas Arenberg
I would qualify my colleagues response a bit. BRCA1 & 2 are gene mutations that can cause breast and ovarian cancer among families. Neither are markers of the presence of cancer, and cannot be thought of as tumor markers in the sense that PSA is a marker for prostate cancer, for example. BRCA mutations are often found in families with a strong history of early onset breast cancer.
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Crystal Twynham
Board Certified, Surgery
29 years in practice
938K people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors