If Tumor Marker Is Higher, Does That Mean I Have More Cancer?

Last Modified: January 24, 2012

Share article


If my tumor marker number is higher than another patient's, does that mean I have more cancer in me?


Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink Nurse Educator, responds:

Not at all- these results are specific to each patient and should only be compared to your own previous results, taking into consideration your condition, treatments and other test results. For instance, after surgery for prostate cancer that removes the prostate, the PSA level is typically zero (because there is no prostate tissue remaining to produce the marker). However, if the patient was treated with radiation, there will still be PSA present because there is still prostate tissue in the body, but this does not mean that one treatment was less effective than the other.

Learn more about tumor markers: http://www.oncolink.org/treatment/article.cfm?c=17&s=136&id=296

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Interpreting Test Results transcript.

Type 2 diabetes tied to higher risk of some cancers; shared risk factors may have a role

Jun 17, 2010 - Having type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer, and the increased risk may be due to shared risk factors, though more research is needed to definitively answer many ongoing questions, according to a consensus report released by the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society and published online June 16 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

I Wish You Knew

How cancer patients have changed my life

View More

Blogs and Web Chats

OncoLink Blogs give our readers a chance to react to and comment on key cancer news topics and provides a forum for OncoLink Experts and readers to share opinions and learn from each other.

OncoLink OncoPilot

Facing a new cancer diagnosis or changing the course of your current treatment? Let our cancer nurses help you through!

Learn More