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  • AFP

    Hi

    A short backgorund: 3.5 years ago I was diagnosed with a seminoma and right testicle was removed.

    Since then onward, AFP marker was always < 2, this is how it appears in the blood test results.

    On December 2020 AFP, MRI and all other things were normal. Meaning AFP < 2.

    On March 2021 I took 2 Covid vaccinations. I didn't talk to my oncologist before that but regarding the 3rd vaccination, she told me to wait with the 3rd one for after the next surveillance on December 2021.

    I didn't do any AFP test nor MRI after the vaccinations until now.

    Today I received my blood tests and AFP is now 2.23. You'll might say this is nothing to worry about but my worry is of 2 things: vaccinations and process, meaning, now it's 2.23 but because it was always < 2, becoming now >2 might mean a higher value later on, as time will go by.

    In the explanation to the AFP results it says that decreasing and increasing values are signs of illness getting better/worse accordingly, Is there anything I can hang to, to calm my nervousness at the moment? I might be able to talk to my oncologist only next week and I really worry now.

    Thanks

  • #2
    From the Testicular Cancer Resource Center ( http://thetcrc.org/dictionary.html ) :
    Alpha-fetoprotein - AFP is a protein found in the bloodstream of some men with nonseminomatous testicular cancer (It is NEVER present in seminoma patients). The level rises when the cancer is growing and falls when the cancer is shrinking or has been surgically removed, so a blood test can possibly measure the progress of the disease and success of treatment. Because of this behavior, it is referred to as a tumor marker. Elevated levels of AFP occur in 75 per cent of patients with teratocarcinoma, embryonal cell carcinoma, and yolk sac carcinoma. (However, increased levels of AFP are also found in patients with liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, acute and chronic hepatitis and hepatic necrosis. ) The serum half life of AFP is 5 to 7 days, which implies that elevated levels of AFP should fall by one half of the initial level per week and should probably return to normal within 25 to 35 days after surgery if all of the tumor has been removed. The higher the level, though, the longer it will take to return to normal. Please note that AFP is normally less than about 5 ng/ml, but cancer cannot be assumed until it is over 25 ng/ml. Also note that a very small number of people have a naturally high level of this protein in their blood (though less than 25) even though they do not have cancer.l
    You are well within a safe range at this point
    Jan, 1975: Right I/O, followed by RPLND
    Dec, 2009: Left I/O, followed by 3xBEP

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    • #3
      Thank you for your response.

      "The level rises when the cancer is growing and falls when the cancer is shrinking or has been surgically removed": that's what I worry about, why is it > 2 all of a sudden. My worry is that in my next test, it will be even higher. Any idea when is the recommended time to re-check this marker?

      The serum half life of AFP is 5 to 7 days: what is the meaning of this?

      Please note that AFP is normally less than about 5 ng/ml: this is a bit relaxing but the fact it is elevated a bit... sorry for repeating this

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      • #4
        I suggest you focus on this part:
        but cancer cannot be assumed until it is over 25 ng/ml.
        You can literally drive yourself crazy focusing on minutia AFP goes up & down all the time. Mine hovers near the high end of normal & sometimes crosses for over 10 years now. Relax, unless there is a strong trend up you are likely fine.
        Jan, 1975: Right I/O, followed by RPLND
        Dec, 2009: Left I/O, followed by 3xBEP

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        • #5
          Thank you for your answer

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          • #6
            As mentioned, I refer to this op-ed on AFP levels <25 not being of much significance. https://ascopubs.org/doi/pdf/10.1200/JCO.2014.56.0607

            Also, if you had seminoma, by definition the AFP should be normal, so it shouldn't be related to your case, unless they missed something in the pathology, which would be rare and which I would not even take into consideration unless the AFP was drastically higher.

            It can be nerve wracking but I wouldn't be concerned with the slight AFP variations.

            Mike
            Oct. 2005 felt lump but waited over 7 months.
            06.15.06 "You have Cancer"
            06.26.06 Left I/O
            06.29.06 Personal Cancer Diagnosis Date: Got my own pathology report from medical records.
            06.30.06 It's Official - Stage I Seminoma
            Surveillance...
            Founded the Testicular Cancer Society
            6.29.13 Summited Mt. Kilimanjaro for 7th Cancerversary

            For some reason I do not get notices of private messages on here so please feel free to email me directly at mike@tc-cancer.com if you would like to chat privately so as to avoid any delays.

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            • #7
              Thanks Mike for your reply

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