High CEA and PET Scan

jzanches Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
This is my second post on this web site. Some background: I am a male and my age is 71. On Dec. 10, 2007 I had a routine colonoscopy. The doctor found one large polyp in the lower colon and he removed it in sections. That evening I became nauseous, I vomited and I had a fever. This forced me to go to the emergency room at the local hospital. After putting me through various tests, including a CT scan, it was concluded that my colon was perforated a the site of the polyp. I was admitted to the hospital and spent three days on IV antibiotics before being released. In the meantime, the polyp biopsy results came back that showed that I had colon cancer. I had colon resection surgery on Jan. 2, 2008 and was released three days after surgery. Prior to being released from the hospital the surgeon informed me that the section of colon removed and associated lymph nodes were free of cancer so I was diagnosed with stage I colon cancer. He also mentioned that the CT scan done in the emergency room showed nothing on the liver and lymph nodes.

I had an appointment with the surgeon about a week after being discharged from the hospital and it was at this appointment that he mentioned some concern about my CEA result, 7.7, just after surgery. The surgeon set up an appointment for me to see an oncologist. Subsequently, I had a CEA test about two weeks after surgery that showed a result of 4.4. The oncologist thought that the CEA test results were probably nothing but ordered a higher-quality CT scan of the chest/abdomen/pelvic area in order to be on the safe side. This CT scan showed nothing. However, a subsequent CEA test showed an elevated result, 8.2. It should be mentioned that the three CEA tests were done at three different labs. A PET scan of the head to mid-thighs was then ordered for Feb. 15. The results showed two areas of concern. Although there were no hot spots on the liver, the liver was not uniform in brightness. I will have an MRI of the abdomen done on Mar. 3 to resolve the liver problem. I will also be having blood drawn for another CEA test. The other problem was a small spot in the middle of the chest (no lung involvement) that the oncologist thought might be a lymph node. The PET report described it as a metabolic something or other. It is located in a difficult to reach area and surgery might be necessary in order to evaluate it. The oncologist does not want to put me through the surgery. This problem area was left up in the air as the oncologist wanted to consult with his radiologist associates in order to determine the next steps in its diagnosis and possible treatment.

My wife and I are quite discouraged at this point and fear getting new results that lately have been less than good. I suspect that the oncologist is leaning toward another primary source of cancer in addition to colon cancer, although he did not mention it. On several occasions during appointments, he pointed out that my prostate was enlarged. My last PSA, done in May of last year, was low (1.26). However, at least one neighbor of mine had a similarly low PSA and still ended up with prostrate cancer. Googling - prostate CEA - revealed that in some cases CEA is a better marker for prostate cancer than PSA. I am wondering if my prostate should be looked at as the reason for a high CEA result.

Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



  • jenhopesprays
    jenhopesprays Member Posts: 128 Member
    Sorry you and your wife are having to go through any of this. We can all relate to the stress of the waiting game. You have an elevated CEA but not a high CEA. You are doing more tests. Sounds like you need to sit tight until you get the results. Having no prostate I can only suggest your doc give you more testing to rule that out. Hang in there and let us know what the results are.

  • PGLGreg
    PGLGreg Member Posts: 731
    My oncologist, after treating me for rectal cancer, became worried enough about the possibility of prostate cancer to send me to a urologist. I had an enlarged prostate and fluctuating somewhat elevated PSA results. But after almost a year of follow ups -- more PSA tests, two ultrasounds, a CT scan -- the urologist decided it was definitely not prostate cancer. Enlargement due to age (66). He put me on Avodart to shrink my prostate.

    I imagine you'll want to keep an eye on that prostate, so to speak, but be prepared for the possibility that it will come to nothing, cancerwise.
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
    CEA has never been a good test for me....it stayed below 1.0 even during stage III rectal cancer....CEA can actually test false when other things in the body are going on...including some infections....

    As far as the resection results...this is the best news!...no spread!!!!

    I, too, cannot speak to the prostate, but I will say that I have friends in their 60's, no cancer, with enlarged prostates...

    Waiting is tough, but this will pass, too...please keep us posted.

    Hugs, Kathi
  • CherylHutch
    CherylHutch Member Posts: 1,375 Member
    I can't add too much to what the others have said, and, as well, do not have a prostrate so can't be of help there either. I am pretty much going through what you have gone through in that my CEA is "elevated" and now am going for a PET scan.

    Keep in mind that so many things can affect the CEA levels and it doesn't mean that higher levels are always caused by cancer. Also, an enlarged prostrate does not automatically mean it's prostrate cancer. Our bodies are actually incredibly complicated machines and don't necessarily operate in a simple, straightforward way that is easy to understand. So, after having the original scare of being diagnosed with cancer... every time there's a little change, it's only human to fear the worse. Try to put that aside.

    This is what I do when all the tests, etc. can seem kind of overwhelming. We all, EVERYONE, has cancer cells in their body.. it's just that they aren't necessarily active, which is why some people can go through their whole life without getting cancer. For those of us who have, or have had cancer, we now are being watched like a hawk by our doctors and oncologists. This is a good thing! It means no little old bout of cancer is going to get the upper hand now because we have the team on our side. Whereas, someone who has not gone through what we have, they may have a spot brewing and yet no one is watching them like a hawk.

    So take comfort in knowing that your doctors are doing all the monitoring tests, whether you need them or not... and most of the time you are going to hear that you are just fine. SHOULD they find something, then they will jump on it and treat it before it gets the upper hand... so you are definitely in the right place with the right people behind you :)