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Rising cea

cheeks964's picture
cheeks964
Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2011

Hello,

I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer in March. Biopsied and found in one lympth node. Had chemo/radiation in May. Had schedule permanent colostomy surgery in august. Cea was 9 before surgery and 4 after surgery. ended up having a temporary illiotomy for all the margins were available to see. Took dime size cancer out 8 ml size and found 2 of the18 lymph nodes had cancer in them, had cea on september 19th and it was 4 now on sept 28th it's 8 and i already had one round of chemo. going twice a month. drip of oxiplatin and then i leave with 5fu or two days, the pump.

All the surroundng aread that the doctor took out had no cancer in it, only the area of the dime size cancer. Why is my cea going up

So nervous and don't understand.

My 2nd treatment is tomorrow. i have a total of 8 treatments every other week.

Please advise asap.

Thank you
Carolyn or email me at cheeks917@comcast.net

cheeks964's picture
cheeks964
Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2011

please reply as soon as possible...going nuts here.

RobinKaye
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

A lot of people have a rise in their CEA during chemo and it's nothing to be alarmed about. It could be something is there, though after chemorad and surgery with clear margins it's unlikely so soon. I'd vote for the chemo flare. How often are they checking your cea? My husband had his checked at diagnosis, before surgery, after surgery and after FOLFOX completed. He was not subjected to the ups and downs during chemo.

cheeks964's picture
cheeks964
Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2011

Thanks for getting back to me so soon. Thank you very much.

I had it done before surgery, surgery was 8-16 and it was 9 then September 18th it was 4 and September 28th it was 8, i've only had on treatment of oxiplatin/5fu, my second one is tomorrow.

Please advise

Carolyn

cheeks964's picture
cheeks964
Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2011

what is chemo flare?

cheeks964's picture
cheeks964
Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2011

this is going to drive me nuts. any other comments. robyn are you gone?>

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 2951
Joined: Jan 2010

Please don't think no one is 'listening' it is just that most don't get on here but once a day, and with members around the world the time differences make a difference too.

I think what was suggested about 'chemo flare' is that some patients have reported a rise in CEA during chemo, which is thought to be the dying off of cancer cells.

While the only visible cancer may have been removed, it is not unusual for cells to still be present, hence the reason many/most do chemo.

You are just getting started on this journey and it is way too soon to tell what is or is not working. The CEA is a good marker for some, and not others. It can also be impacted by other non-cancerous things.

While everyone here will try to help you navigate thru this, your best source of info will always be your doctor. If something is worrying you, call him/her.

Wishing you the very best outcome.

Marie who loves kitties

RobinKaye
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

Sorry Carolyn, I just checked back in - I should have been more specific but Marie explained it well and she's also right that it could be other things. You could have some inflammation (you just had surgery) or a slight infection somewhere.

Please try not to panic and you should talk to your doctor. I know anything can happen but it's really not at all likely that this is something bad.

Robin

pepebcn's picture
pepebcn
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

let see what's on after 2 or 3 rounds!
Hugs !

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Carolyn,

I agree with what others have said. CEA can fluctuate a little; it can rise a little during treatment -- perhaps because some of the cancer cells are dying. Your numbers are not high. Try to take a longer term view -- for example, after 4 or 8 chemo treatments. And the scan results are more reliable than CEA.

Your treatment protocol sounds very similar to what I had after I was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal -- sounds like you are in good hands.

Keep breathing -- in as well as out!

Good luck to you

Tara

steveandnat's picture
steveandnat
Posts: 887
Joined: Sep 2011

Your count isn't too bad because it will fluctuate while getting treatments. Was your onc concerned with your cea? If they think its something out of sack yhr might order scans or run more tests. Pray this is nothing out of the ordinary. Jeff

cheeks964's picture
cheeks964
Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2011

He said no worries, could be alot of stuff, inflamation, diarea....

RobinKaye
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

What'd we tell ya :-)

Hope you're feeling better!

Robin

Doc_Hawk's picture
Doc_Hawk
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

Hi Carolyn,

The CEA is a measurement of the a protein which is a byproduct of the cancer and it's measure in nanograms per milliliter. False high readings are not uncommon and high readings are usually not a concern until there are three consecutive increases. As has been mentioned above, dead and dying cancer cells can cause a high reading. My CEA last week took a from 219 up to 404 but we'll wait to see what the next two readings are like before deciding if there needs to be a change in treatment. By that time I'll be ready for my next PET scan which will also factor into how we proceed.

I know that this is all pretty scary stuff and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit worried about my CEA nearly doubling in only two weeks. But I do realize there are extenuating circumstances which probably contributed to the increase and my onc team and I are confident that it will come back down again in the upcoming weeks. This may be the same with your increase. Try to relax and breath easy until you get a couple more CEA reports to see if it's a trend or an aberration.

God Bless,

Ray/Doc

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