A lot of emphasis is placed on certain blood tests detect or measure carcinoid. A single test result usually is not trusted but trends are good.
There are a number of blood tests that are used by oncologists to detect or confirm carcinoid. These are used for me:
- Chromogranin A – a protein found in neuroendocrine cells which may be elevated when you have the cancer.
- Seratonin – a hormone normal to the body but often found at high levels when you have carcinoid cancer. High levels and long exposure to seratonin is known to cause carcinoid heart disease, which is a deformation of the heart valves. About 25% of carcinoid patients die of heart disease.
- Gastrin – a hormone which stimulates stomach acid. Some carcinoids (me for instance) have long histories of stomach trouble and even bleeding ulcers. This goes undiagnosed or mis-diagnosed until the carcinoid tumors are discovered.
Here is a history of my numbers combined with the events that affected them:
|Standard range||1.9 – 15.0||< 101||22 – 180|
|05/06/11||Biopsy confirms carcinoid tumor|
|06/22/11||Monthly sandostatin injections start|
Looking at this, I can see perhaps why my acid stomach is coming back.
Given all the interest in the numbers, we must always be aware that some individuals have good numbers but still show the carcinoid syndrome.