Adding to the mystery

Real Tar Heel
Real Tar Heel Member Posts: 307 Member

If you guys recall, I had a scare last month where I believed I was feeling an intestinal blockage caused by a recurrence at the original site. Everyone who knows what they are talking about poo-poo-ed that assumption and today they were proven correct as my scans showed the same slight shrinkage on tumors. What no one has addressed was the big jump in my CEA. While it is starting to come back down, the number had jumped to pre-chemo levels, doubling in size before dropping down again.

Have I had the COVID vaccine? Yes, I had it last winter. I restarted chemo three months after, and the number went from around 16 to 7 to 16 to 13. The COVID vaccine isn't a likely culprit.

Are there other opportunities for inflamation? I developed slight steatosis during the chemo/cancer dance. That could be a cause. I also had some inflammation from surgery but it is mostly gone. If it returned, that could have caused CEA to go up.

Second hand smoke is also a possibility. We have a "tenant" (my sister and her nephew lol) downstairs and they smoke despite being asked to keep it outside at least. Smoking can cause CEA to rise, but would second hand make it go up so much?

There's also the possibility that CEA is going up because there are tiny tumors forming that aren't yet visible.

I don't know, I think what we are seeing is that CEA is not proving to be a reliable tumor marker for Stage IV patients with recurrences. Or maybe we are seeing that some kinds of treatments make the marker unreliable.

What do you think?


  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
    edited October 2021 #2
    Not to make light of the post but...

    I did get a kick out of  'Everyone who knows what they are talking about poo-poo-ed that assumption

    I hope you intended that little bit of humour in there. 

    No matter what, any jump in CEA is going to be worrying, and even more so when you cannot pinpoint the reason why. 

    I do so hope that it is just a matter of the CEA not being a good indicator for you, and nothing worse. 

    I WOULD use your CEA jump to emphasize to your 'tennants' that they NEED TO SMOKE OUTSIDE.  First off, they should be respecting your rules to start with, but especially so, if it means, even in the slightest chance, that it might skew your CEA results. 

    Thank you for your update.  Will be thinking of you, and hoping that all is well.