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Serum ferritin and prostate cancer

User
Posted 31 Jul 2021 at 13:22

Hi, just wanted to see if anyone is aware if having prostate cancer can raise your serum ferritin - iron levels.  My dad’s recent results have come back still high after repeating from 6 weeks ago, also with his vitamin B12 high.

 

many thanks 

User
Posted 31 Jul 2021 at 22:47
Is he on treatment such as hormone therapy for his prostate cancer? And is his prostate cancer advanced / metastatic? High ferritin levels can be a marker of liver disease, mets in the liver or that the body isn't coping with the treatment. High ferritin is also an indicator of a significant infection, for example someone who has had Covid?
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 12:24

Well if you do a bit of googling on hemochromatosis you will find lots of info. Just over 1% of irish people have the full version of the disease and I think 10% have at least one copy of the faulty gene.

My uncle has the full version of the disease and that prompted me to get tested. NHS did a genetic test and found I have one copy of the faulty gene. 

Strictly speaking with only one copy of the faulty gene iron should stay normal, but in my case my iron is well above normal but doesn't seem to get so high that it will cause severe organ damage.

Without going through my medical records, I can't give you all the numbers and I can't remember if the serum iron, or the transferritin test is the most relevant. All I can remember is that for one of these tests the normal range is 30-300. My numbers range from 400-600. I did have phlebotomy which brought it down, but found going to hospital once every couple of months quite inconvenient. I decided to stop treatment and it has stayed in the 400-600 range for the last 10 years. I believe that as long as it stays below 1000 it is not doing too much damage, so I'm just keeping an eye on it.

Apparently not all GPs are aware of the disease. I think if there is high iron and Irish ancestry, hemochromatosis is very likely. 

Dave

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 14:46

Well that's a difficult question. Yes I do get fatigue and a lack of energy, but can I attribute it to hemochromatosis? Probably not. I don't get any joint pain or other classic symptoms of hemochromatosis. 

The human body is just too complicated to be sure what symptoms are caused by what. Also I don't know if my fatigue is really that much worse than in any other 57 year old man. 

When I was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, I went to the hospital about every two months for about two years, and they usually drained a pint of blood to get the numbers near normal. I found this reduced my energy levels a lot, I actually asked them to test if I was now becoming anaemic (which I wasn't). So for me I was noticeably more tired when being treated for Hemochromatosis than when not. That is the reason along with the inconvenience of the hospital appointments that I decided to just leave it to see how high the iron got and only do something if it got above 1000. Since then it has just hovered around 500 it doesn't seem to get higher and I have avoided a decade of hospital appointments which would have kept it in a normal range, but probably not have made any significant improvement in my life expectancy or quality of life. 

It is quite possible your father's GP has decided the iron is above normal but not high enough to be dangerous. 

What treatment is your father on for cancer? these are probably the more likely cause of fatigue in his case. 

 

 

Dave

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 17:19
Covid does leave some people with extreme fatigue, and so can high ferritin levels. The hormone injections also cause extreme fatigue - you may never know exactly which one was the initial cause but in reality, it is probably a combination of all three.

I don't think you have said how old he is but research data suggests that most men have had prostate cancer for decades before they are diagnosed.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

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User
Posted 31 Jul 2021 at 22:47
Is he on treatment such as hormone therapy for his prostate cancer? And is his prostate cancer advanced / metastatic? High ferritin levels can be a marker of liver disease, mets in the liver or that the body isn't coping with the treatment. High ferritin is also an indicator of a significant infection, for example someone who has had Covid?
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 31 Jul 2021 at 23:37

Thank you for replying.  I just went back onto my dad’s portal again as I knew he had a full blood test last year.  I have seen his iron was really high last year and no further action was taken.  This was before diagnosed with prostate cancer.  My dad’s scores are 7 and 8, bone scan was clear.  He had his first injection a month ago.  So not related to the treatment, as score was high last year.  Could just have prostate cancer make his iron go higher??  I am sure he had prostate cancer last year but the doc didn’t do the psa test.

User
Posted 31 Jul 2021 at 23:37

I guess he has had a genetic test for Hemochromatosis? If he has irish or Scottish ancestry. That would be the first thing to check. 

Dave

User
Posted 31 Jul 2021 at 23:40

We also do believe my dad did have COVID last year, but it was in March 2020, and it was never confirmed.  
He just received antibiotics from the doc.  He has felt very tired since then.

User
Posted 31 Jul 2021 at 23:42

Ok, thank you.  He is from Ireland.

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 12:24

Well if you do a bit of googling on hemochromatosis you will find lots of info. Just over 1% of irish people have the full version of the disease and I think 10% have at least one copy of the faulty gene.

My uncle has the full version of the disease and that prompted me to get tested. NHS did a genetic test and found I have one copy of the faulty gene. 

Strictly speaking with only one copy of the faulty gene iron should stay normal, but in my case my iron is well above normal but doesn't seem to get so high that it will cause severe organ damage.

Without going through my medical records, I can't give you all the numbers and I can't remember if the serum iron, or the transferritin test is the most relevant. All I can remember is that for one of these tests the normal range is 30-300. My numbers range from 400-600. I did have phlebotomy which brought it down, but found going to hospital once every couple of months quite inconvenient. I decided to stop treatment and it has stayed in the 400-600 range for the last 10 years. I believe that as long as it stays below 1000 it is not doing too much damage, so I'm just keeping an eye on it.

Apparently not all GPs are aware of the disease. I think if there is high iron and Irish ancestry, hemochromatosis is very likely. 

Dave

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 13:02

Thank you so much for this information Dave.

 I just thought there might be a chance the cancer itself had raised it or might be the cause of it.  
I am annoyed his doc has left this for a year, as it was high last year and have not done any investigation.  

My dad’s score is 749, it should be under 400 to be normal.  The liver function test has come back normal.  Just worrying searching on the net.  I will be phoning his doc in the morning.  Thank you again.

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 13:25

Dave, do you get any symptoms?  Like feeling no energy?

many thanks 

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 14:46

Well that's a difficult question. Yes I do get fatigue and a lack of energy, but can I attribute it to hemochromatosis? Probably not. I don't get any joint pain or other classic symptoms of hemochromatosis. 

The human body is just too complicated to be sure what symptoms are caused by what. Also I don't know if my fatigue is really that much worse than in any other 57 year old man. 

When I was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, I went to the hospital about every two months for about two years, and they usually drained a pint of blood to get the numbers near normal. I found this reduced my energy levels a lot, I actually asked them to test if I was now becoming anaemic (which I wasn't). So for me I was noticeably more tired when being treated for Hemochromatosis than when not. That is the reason along with the inconvenience of the hospital appointments that I decided to just leave it to see how high the iron got and only do something if it got above 1000. Since then it has just hovered around 500 it doesn't seem to get higher and I have avoided a decade of hospital appointments which would have kept it in a normal range, but probably not have made any significant improvement in my life expectancy or quality of life. 

It is quite possible your father's GP has decided the iron is above normal but not high enough to be dangerous. 

What treatment is your father on for cancer? these are probably the more likely cause of fatigue in his case. 

 

 

Dave

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 16:36

He was just diagnosed in June, so far only has had one hormone injection and going to see a consultant tomorrow.

We do think he had covid last March and has felt a terrible lack of energy since then, even just to walk around the block.  

They didn’t do a psa on him last year, but pretty sure the cancer has been there for some time.  
Thank you so much for replying to me.

  Many thanks

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 17:19
Covid does leave some people with extreme fatigue, and so can high ferritin levels. The hormone injections also cause extreme fatigue - you may never know exactly which one was the initial cause but in reality, it is probably a combination of all three.

I don't think you have said how old he is but research data suggests that most men have had prostate cancer for decades before they are diagnosed.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 01 Aug 2021 at 17:48

Thank you.  

My dad is 74, but this lack of energy over the last year seems to be having such a impact on his life.  seems to be really getting him down.
It’s not the injection, as this lack of energy started before the injection.
The only reason I posted was to see if it could just be the cancer, making his iron high, and maybe causing the lack of energy.  
One symptom of high iron is lack of energy.  

Very true it could be a number of things.  Thank you again for your post back to me.

 
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