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colsie
Posts: 24
Joined: Dec 2004

What is a PET scan and CEA? They are not terms that we use in British Columbia.
Also, if you have a reaction to your first round of chemo, how long would it take after the treatment?
My father's treatment starts Mon., and I will stay til Thurs. so am trying to gear up. In conversation it is all very matter of fact, but I can feel a knot starting to form in my stomach and realize that my temper is shorter than usual. It's interesting how your body reacts even when your mind isn't thinking about it.
I love reading the posts, they are very encouraging - does anyone use the chat? With the time differences it must not be as convenient
C.

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

colsie -

Hi... PET scans are "Positron Emission Tomography" scans. Similar to a CAT scan (don't know why they discriminate against dogs and don't have a DOG scan). The test injects sugar attached to a radioactive compound and it's used to show the difference between scar tissue, dead cancer cells and active cancer. It uses the notion that cancer feeds on sugar so live cancer will absorb the radioactive sugar and give its location away. PET scans are excellent discriminators, but they cannot distinguish cancer "hot spots" with the same resolution as a CT scan. The process is often: 1. CT scan identified an area of concern, 2. Follow-up CT scan identifies if it appears to be getting larger, 3. PET scan is used to indicate if its active cancer.

CEA, or carcinoembryonic antigen tests, are blood tests used to identify a specific protien that is found on the surface of cells when there is active cancer in the body (most commonly colon cancer). It is not the most accurate test. Several of us, myself included (and I know fitlisa, and I believe Kerry, too) had "normal" CEA levels in our blood while we had active cancer.

Hope that answers your question.

(see? I can be srious once in a while)

- SB (as in "Serious Bob")

kangatoo's picture
kangatoo
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Colsie....when Bob gets "seeerrriouuus" you better read his post carefully 'cos it is always pretty accurate.
I think reaction times can vary Colsie. It all depends on the meds he is given and the agressiveness of the chemo. Having said that, my personal experience(I had 5fu/leucovorin) took about 5 days to show up any reactions initially. Nonetheless, oncologists and clinic nurses usually keep a very close eye on patients for the first day to watch for serious reactions that can happen. Throughout his chemo your dad needs to be very aware of any changes and tell his clinic nurses of ANYTHING at all that concerns him, no matter how trivial it may seem. Some reactions need to be assessed as quickly as possible. Remember...these are poisons they will give him.
The "matter of factness" you speak about I guess is the impression you get from the oncologist or the clinic nurses. I found that also but once into the chemo and on questioning some of the nurses about their seeming "low key" attitude to patients receiving chemo I found that in some ways they try to ease the pressure on us somewhat so as not to be alarming and create undue stress. They like to have chemo recipients in as good a health as possible prior to starting it and I guess any undue stress is to be avoided. Hence some reasons for the "matter of fact" attitude.My wife, Jen was like you,very concerned about the effect chemo would have on me. It is an unknown so the worry is very understandable. Don't stress too much Colsie. Allow the chemo to do its stuff and be prepared for almost anything....with some luck your dad may well get thru it with very few effects. One day at a time sweetie!!!
luv n huggs , kanga n Jen

Yes.the chatroom is used...I go there occassionally....it is usually morning in the room and midnight here in OZ tho!

Lisa Rose's picture
Lisa Rose
Posts: 589
Joined: Mar 2003

I also had a nomal CEA and if I remember correct Emily does also...

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

If I remember correctly, there's nothing "normal" about Emily... oh... no... wait, that's AssP that I'm thinking of... Sorry, they both do herbs; I got confused.

- SB

alihamilton's picture
alihamilton
Posts: 344
Joined: Jan 2004

I know how you feel.....the day that my husband's chemo was to start, I just burst into tears because I was so scared for him. He tolerated it pretty well though . It sometimes takes a couple of days for the side effects, if any, to kick in. Mine had diarrhoea and at the end of the first week, was very tired. However, you must remember that everyone is different and your father may not even have any side effects.

The PET scan is able to identify malignant spots....sometimes a CT scan will show something which is not necessarily malignancy but the PET confirms it. The CEA is a blood test which measures tumour levels in the body. It is rarely used by itself as it is not very reliable....some poeple's tumours do not give out markers, so it is used in conjunction with scans etc. I have read though that it is useful to warn of a recurrence and a oncology surgeon we saw in the US did use the result to influence his opinion.

Hope everything goes well for your father. Try not to worry too much....I know that is hard but sometimes the anxiety is much worse than the event itself.

Lisa Rose's picture
Lisa Rose
Posts: 589
Joined: Mar 2003

Sponger,
Are you sure your not doing herbs..........

kangatoo's picture
kangatoo
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

It may well be Lisa that Bob went to Cuba for reasons other than searching for that perfect woman.........lol!

aspaysia's picture
aspaysia
Posts: 257
Joined: Nov 2003

He likes his cigars hand-rolled.

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