I just got my latest PCR back from Johns Hopkins (their own lab) per usual and they appear to have changed their reporting style and language again. This time my report said, "(blah blah blah). . . gene translocation in both replicate samples just at the limit of quantification of this assay (approximately International Standard 0.0l% BCR-ABL1 to ABL1 ratio)." Now, don't get me wrong, I'm pleased as punch. However, in the past they have reported to the .00 level. When I emailed my onc, he said something like well, at least it's better than the old cut-off which was 0.05. But that makes no sense, as I have received many under 0.05, including three that had TWO zeros, in the past. There might be some explanatory language in the report, but I never can get a copy to read without filling out a form for Medical Records and waiting a couple of weeks. The result is not reported in My Chart - the head IT guy at JH keeps saying they are aware of the system flaw and are working on it. (That conversation thread is over a year old!) My onc, although happy to email me the relevant passage, refuses to make a copy of the whole report and send it to me.
Anyway, now that I've whined, here's my question: How should I interpret this number, other than being simply happy and grateful about it? Am I wrong to hope that it's UNDER 0.01? That they've rounded up? Are they trying to say that they're no longer going to report to the next decimal point because they don't believe in the accuracy of the test to that level? How does this factor into racking up "deep responses" for a couple of years in order to try cessation?
Man, you just don't say "approximately" to a CML patient!!!!!