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Rising CEA and PET scan

Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2005

Hi All Semicolons,
I was just wondering how much of a rise in CEA is needed to order a Pet scan. Mine went up in April so my Oncologist order a Pet. It showed nothing, so we retested CEA last week. It almost doubled, so now he wants another Pet scan. I'm not sure it will be approved by my insurance. The last one is still being processed. I don't want to rush it and have nothing show again, but I'm also worried something is growing and if it can be located and removed, the sooner the better. Any feedback on others experience is greatly appreciated.

nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

most here will give an opinion, and most will be informative, but if you trust your doc, a PET could show something else, and then may also be inconclusive. They usually pre-approve procedures, esp. PETs, but you can call the Dr's
billing dept and ask them.
Or, there is always a second opinion, if you are not comfortable with your Onc' decision..

Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi. I'd check with the insurance and get preapproval and if it's denied, your ONC can submit an appeal perhaps noting the rise in cea and "medical necessity"of having another scan so soon. Good luck and keep us posted. Have you been on chemo and for what length of time? Sometimes, when starting chemo, CEA rises as the chemo kills and releases the cancer cells so my hubby's onc informed us. Not sure if this could be the case with yours or if you've been under treatment for a while. Prayers that it all turns out well for you. Keep us posted.
God Bless,

Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2005

Hi Diane,
I have been off chemo since 11/3/06. I've been through 6 months of FOLFOX and FOLFIRI with Avastin in the past 2 years. CEA was below 1.4 until April, it went up to 4.39. Now it's 8.46.
This is not real high, but last year when I had a recurrance the pet scan showed a small tumor when it was 9. That's why I was asking about others rise in CEA. Thanks for the prayers.

Posts: 553
Joined: Mar 2006


I don't blame you for wanting to have another PET scan. You are right, the sooner, the better. I agree with the others. Maybe you could call for pre-certification from your insurance company. Keeping you in my prayers.


shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi Kandy,
The first thing that comes to mind is, could you possibly be pregnant? The reason I ask is because that would cause an extreme and sudden rise in CEA. I assume they would have checked for that prior to giving you a PET scan, but nonetheless??
Also, it is my experience that a PET scan will not show any tumors less than 1cm in size. Are they also doing CT scans on you? CT usually would show lesions as small as 3-4mm.
PET is usually used in conjunction with a CT scan, as an overlay, to see if something showing up on CT is cancer, or not.
So if I were you I would just go with the CT and see what it shows. They can always follow that up with a PET scan.
Best wishes that it turns out to be nothing!

jerseysue's picture
Posts: 626
Joined: Oct 2005

My CEA was rising so my onc ordered a PET it showed nothing and my next CEA also doubled. We did a CT pelvix and abdomin and the CT showed something and the PET didn't. Just to let you know I'm now in remission for the 2nd time so if it came back kick its *** like you did the first time! Lots of luck!

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