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CEA up after 3 rounds of chemo. Help!

Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2003

Sorry this is so long. Wanted to give you all complete info.

My father was diag. Stage III in June 1998. Had resection, 7 out of 26 lymph nodes positive.

Did 6 mos. of chemo - continuous infusion 5FU and levamisole.

NED for over 4 yrs. Jan. 2002 - diagnosed with prostate cancer - gleason 7 (agressive). Did 5 mos of radiation and 1 yr of Lupron shots. PSA is undectable.

Shortly after finishing his radiation is CEA started climbing.
Did PET and CT scans. Finally found two small nodules in base of left lower lobe of lung.

Did a lobectomy in Jan. 2003 (CEA at 21 just prior to surgery.)

3 wks post-op his CEA was 10. 6 wks post-op CEA at 15.
Did another CT scan (end of March '03)- found a 1 cm lesion at base of remaining lobe in left lung, small indeterminate spots in upper right lung.

Nothing in liver.
4/1/03 CEA 22.7, started chemo on 4/8/03 - 5FU, leukovarian and CPT11. Once a week for 4 wks, 2 wks off.

After 3 chemo sessions - 4/29/03 - CEA is now at 28.2, up 6 pts after 3 sessions. Dad had his 4th session of chemo yesterday after the blood was drawn.

He feels good, looks great, continues to go to the gym. Uses his incentive spirometer (breathing exerciser & can get between 2000 and 2500 mls each time). Dr. says that is great.
Dad will be 76 at the end of June.
Worried though that the chemo may not be working given his rising CEA. Dr. said to return in 3 wks - Dad's original 2 wks off, then 3rd wk he'd start another round of chemo.

We are being treated at Barnes Jewish hospital in St. Louis - Siteman Cancer center.

Is it time to go to Mayo or another cancer center?


Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2003

Hello Miss Kate. My husband has stage 4 colon cancer with mets to the liver. He had surgery in March of last year and is doing fairly well except for the fatigue. He still gets 5fu and leucovorin every week. I know that he started out with 5 spots on his liver and after chemotherapy he went down to 3 spots but not before his CEA had jumped and I was told that sometimes when the CEA jumps, its called an "event" meaning maybe one or more of the smaller spots have "exploded" due to the chemo killing them and the circulation in the body causes the CEA to jump. I know how erratic the CEA marker can be and our doctor has told us he concentrates on the liver values more than he does the CEA markers. Since your dad seems to be doing well I would just enjoy the ride for now. Science is never exact. This is only our experience for what its worth.

Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2003

Thanks Lancelot14466. I hope that is the case for Daddy. I just do not feel comfortable with the fact that the CEA is up, and now it'll be 3 wks before we see the Dr. again. I've called the Dr.'s office back and left a message saying I think we need to see him before the 3 wks are up to discuss the plan of action and possible referral to another cancer center. We'll see what they say when I hear back from them.

Thanks again, & God bless you and your husband.
I also have my Dad on vitamins (Dr. knows about them) and iron pills. He's had no fatigue at all. Please e-mail me privately if you want the list of vitamins I have Dad on.

Thanks again,
Miss Kate

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