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Rising CEA Levels

JDilloway
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2004

I was diagnosed in Feb. 2004 with Stage 1 colon cancer. I had a colon resection, but did not have to undergo chemo or radiation. My CEA level right after surgery was 8. Checking it every three months the levels have been 12, 11, 14, 16. I had a colonoscopy in January, and it was clean. CT scan last week was normal. Am waiting for results of PET scan. I'm trying to remain optimistic, but occasionally my thoughts turn to the worst. Has anyone else experienced this? Thanks so much for listening and your help.

nanuk's picture
nanuk
Posts: 1363
Joined: Dec 2003

JoAnn: there is a lot of controversy regarding CEA
and it's effectiveness in prediction. I think if your CEA was a reliable indicator before surgery, it may be subsequently..also, they now have a combo CT/PET procedure you might ask your Dr about. the CT is able to see smaller than the PET.Our more techicnal semi-colons might be able to shed some light on this subject.
You might also word search CEA on this site; there has been a lot of discussion on it. Nanuk

nanuk's picture
nanuk
Posts: 1363
Joined: Dec 2003

JoAnn: there is a lot of controversy regarding CEA
and it's effectiveness in prediction. I think if your CEA was a reliable indicator before surgery, it may be subsequently..also, they now have a combo CT/PET procedure you might ask your Dr about. the CT is able to see smaller than the PET.Our more techicnal semi-colons might be able to shed some light on this subject.
You might also word search CEA on this site; there has been a lot of discussion on it. Nanuk

chutney
Posts: 11
Joined: Mar 2005

JoAnn, I know that most doctors don't look at just a CEA level. They also look at scans and symptoms. Hope your PET scan is clear. Let us know.

slammer
Posts: 120
Joined: May 2004

Hi & welcome but I really don't know what CEA levels are? Can someone tell me, sounds like blood work to me, but? I don't know. plus I am to get a pet scan next month per my oncogist, I thought they were good at finding hidden things in the body? just asking.....thanks
and good luck to you Joann
love amy

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

Amy -

CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) is a blood marker for cancer cells. As Bud said, there is a lot of controversy regarding the test's reliability in indicating cancer. For example, my CEA was normal when I had active cancer in my body. Previous discussions here show that was the case for a lot of us.

JoAnn - CEA is only one test and one that is not particularly reliable. There are other blood tests available as well as other diagnostic tools - like the CT/PET scan Nanuk referred to. Pay attention to your CEA results, but don't pin all of your worries to them. Look at them in conjunction with any other symptoms you may be exhibiting. How are you feeling? Blood? Do you smoke (that can elevate your CEA)? More stress? Any other symptoms that are similar to pre-diagnosis stuff? I guess what I am trying to say is, try to focus on the big picture and don't let yourself get too worried over just your CEA. Certainly, get it checked out like you are, but don't fret too much.

Wishing you continued good health

- SpongeBob

JDilloway
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2004

Thank you all for your comments. I have no symptoms or problems that I am aware of. In fact, since being diagnosed with colon cancer, I feel that I am very in tune to my body and what's going on. My dr. actually seems puzzled by the results, but at least he is being pro-active with the testing. I'm not aware of the CT/PET scan, but will ask my dr on Monday. The information I've looked at indicates that the CT scan is 63% accurate as compared to 96% for the PET. It seems puzzling to me as well since the cancer was contained to the color (Stage 1) and all 48 lymph nodes they removed were normal as well as my liver. Thank you all for your encouragement and words of wisdom. It's hard to talk to family about my fears because they are dealing with their own fears and feelings, and I feel that I have to be strong for them. Thanks for listening!

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