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Stage 2 Rectal Cancer

Posts: 7
Joined: Oct 2012

Hello all,
I was diagnosed with stage 2 T3 rectal cancer back in January of this year and since then have undergone chemo and radiation along with 3 surgeries to remove the tumor, ileostomy and then reversal.

I wanted to know what is the exact follow up care for CEA blood test, physical exam, ct scan and colonoscopy every 3, 6, 12 months and 5 years.

Any help would be appreciated.


Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Welcome to this group. You are now ten months post diagnosis and so assume you are moving into that difficult phase where active treatment is stopping and it is now about monitoring. I personally found that transition very difficult to make- it almost felt like I was no longer actively fighting the cancer and took a while to adapt. It is often this time that people look at lifestyle changes or complementary treatments I think partly to give the sense they are still actively fighting.

There is no specific protocol for patients as to what to do when. It partly depends on what is most relevant to you eg whether cea is a useful marker for you. Most will have bloods and a ct or MRI six monthly initially spreading out after a couple of years to twelve monthly til five years. Sadly the evidence doesn't show that it affects outcomes much so being vigilant for signs of relapse is important.

It is also a time of regaining some control over your life and reclaiming some normality again which takes time but is hugely important.

I hope things go well and would like to hear how things go for you.


Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

I was diagnosed stage 2 back in 2010. My schedule is every 3 months CEA CT Scan once a year! I have my yearly scan coming up in Jan and if its clear then I will be on the 6 month schedule! Feeling pretty nervous about this scan.

Posts: 141
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi Jack,

Well, I am one stage up from you at Stage 3 Rectal but this has been my personal protocol. Had chemo and radiation prior to surgery removal. I was lucky and did not have to have a bag so they surgically removed the cancer, removed 29 lymph nodes (of which 3 were positive for cancer) and then connected me back together again during surgery. Post surgery, I had 6 months of chemo. My follow-up recommended my Mayo Clinic/Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota: 3 months: CEA marker; 6 months: CEA, CT scan of chest, abdomen, pelvis; 9 months: CEA marker; 1 year: CEA, CT of chest, abdomen, pelvis, Colonoscopy; 15 months: CEA marker (this is where I am on this journey); 18 months: CEA, CT of chest, pelvic and abdomen; flexible sigmoidoscopy; 21 months: CEA; 2 years: CEA, CT of chest, pelvic and abdomen, Colonoscopy;2.5 years: CEA and CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis; 3 years: CEA, CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis; 3.5 years: CEA; 4 years: CEA, CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis, colonoscopy; 4.5 years: CEA; 5 years: CEA, CT chest, abdomen and pelvis, flexible sigmoidoscopy. **Note: CT scans at 18 months and 2.5 years are in excess of national cancer guidelines but can be considered for high risk patients.

Well, that sums up my personal plan. I hope this helps you and blessings to you on your personal journey to stay cancer free. I do try and eat healthy with lots of fruits and vegetables, consume mostly chicken, fish and nuts. I do walk 3 - 4 miles everyday and work part-time now. God bless.

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