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Stage 3 Colon Cancer removed, finished chemo but CEA went up.

firegirlst14
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2019

My husband was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer last June. Ended up with emergency surgury, removed mass, 12 lyph nodes 4 of which tested positive, and some fatty tissue. Ended up with a colostomy. His CT scans at the time were clear for the lungs and liver. Did 12 rounds of 5FU/Oxyplatin. Had his first after chemo CT scan in December which showed a new "pleural based pulmonary docule of the right lower lung measureing 4mm". The doctor said not to worry because they believed it was post inflammation. Colonscopy in January that was clear. Got his colostomy reversed in February. Surgeon said everything looked great inside. He was scheduled for his next CT in June. He just had his first 3 month check up with the oncologist and got his blood work back. His CEA last June before surgury was somewhere in the high 70s. After surgery it dropped to 1.7. Then the last week of chemo it was 3. This week it came back as 4 and she wants him to do the CT right away. So now we are both freaking out. Has anyone else had something similar?

myAZmountain
Posts: 270
Joined: Apr 2018

Has your husband had any other scan since the CT describing the 4mm lung nodule? A lung surgeon specialising in cancer went over my scans with me and he felt pretty confident saying which nodules were cancer, by the shape density and proximity to blood supply. Also it makes a difference how far apart the "slices" are of the CT scan. My opinion is that Radiologists don't want to venture an opinion on whether a nodule is cancer,They just will say it was present on one scan and gone on next or something like that. Also I have read studies that indicate Chemo (especially Oxiliplatin/5FU are hard on the liver --have his liver enzymes gone up?-and that could cause a bump in the CEA. Here is one study http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/33/1/253.full. Praying for your husband that the lung thing is nothing bad and he feels better soon! Amazing he was able to complete 12 rounds of a tough Chemo! 

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I wonder if they're just trying to be proactive. 4 is still really good. On the other hand, mine is probably not much about that, maybe 5, and I assume I still have mets in several areas because I've been told my cancer will never be gone. Maybe it's more of an indicator of tumour activity, I don't know. My CEA was always 1 to 2 when I had my first big tumour in my colon. They say it's not a good indicator for some people. I think with mine it wasn't helpful for the initial tumour but is helpful for the mets. 

Sorry, I'm not being very helpful. Welcome to the forum.

Jan

Djspareme's picture
Djspareme
Posts: 18
Joined: Mar 2019

I was diagnosed in   march 2017 with statge IIIc colon cancer.  Emergency seurgery removed a portion of the mass, 12 lymph nodes 3 positive.  I had a lung nodule in June 0f 2017 that was 7mm.  told me not to worry because usually small ones are benign.  Biopsy confirmed benign.  My oncologist told me the chemo cancause inflamation and scarring of the lungs and they vwould keep an eye on it.  Additional surgery in December 2017 removed all visable cancer, however a PETscan showeed cells in the pericolonic fat.  My CEA went FRom 1.7 before surgery to 3 AFTER the seurgery.  currently 2.1.  My oncologist saif the CEA can go up and down like blood pressure depending on what date of the chemo cycle you are in or how long since chemo.  She's right to check it out.  Don't freak out.  I was told 2 weeks ago I'm in remission

 

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1108
Joined: Feb 2015

Wait to see the scan results before worrying too much. And everyone is different.

In my case it did go a bit higher- went from 4.8, the lowest it went after surgery and chemo, up to 5.7 three months later.  A nodule on the lung from the beginning, but which was too small to be sure, reduced a tad during FOLFOX (was so small it was hard to tell), but started growing after FOLFOX was done.  Met in the lung.  BUT my cancer came back again and the CEA stayed the lowest it had been since my diagnosis.  It finally creeped up over 5 when I went back on chemo.  

firegirlst14
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2019

So  my husband had \his CT scan done right after I posted. Insurance would only cover the chest, not the abdomen or pelvic. The results came back clear with the nodule on his lung stable and no change. "No evidence of metastic disease within the chest". Then a mix up of when they wanted him to redo the CEA test, so he had it done a week later and it dropped to 3.7. So today was his next 3 month appt and now it's up to 5.5. So now we have another CT scan scheduled for next Thursday for his chest, abdomen and pevic. I'm a wreck.

nicktacoma's picture
nicktacoma
Posts: 11
Joined: May 2019

I have stage 4 colon cancer  I had surgery on April 24th to remove a large tumor. CEA level at that time was 20.1 ng/ml my CEA level has risen on my last two labs,My last labs showed my CEA at 33.6 ng/ml oncologist sent me in for CAT scan my Cat scan showed no tumors. he then sent me in for a PET scan, the PET scan showed activity that the cancer has spread to my lungs.  I have had 1 chemo treatment Folfox 6 with 5FU pump, on the 10th of June, and schedualed for 11 more no radiation ordered yet. Not sure if that helps but that is where Im at. (This is the same responce I gave to another post)

So far so good

Nicktacoma

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