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Can blood test dectect a spread in cancer...

Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2005

Can doctors tell if cancer has spread from a change in blood test results?

alihamilton's picture
Posts: 348
Joined: Jan 2004

I read your previous post and the words of encouragement that were given in response. Of course, as has been said, everyone is different but there is lots of hope for your father. So many have been right where he is and are doing well today. As to blood test results... the CEA can be an indicator of recurrence but is usually used along with scans. My husband dx July 93 with very similar situation like your father, is now having blood test every three months and, having had a scan a month ago will have another in a year's time if the next blood test results are OK. We always have to keep in mind the possibility of recurrence and to be vigilant to symptoms but it is best not to dwell too much on it....live life to the full while keeping as healthy generally as you can.

All the best,


Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Ali is right- the main test done is CEA. Its sensitivity is not great however so doctors don't rely on it as the only test. Some tumours don't release CEA at all ( though stage 3, I didn't have a raised CEA at all) and CEA can also come from toher sources eg inflammation of other tissues. Thus it sin't that accurate but adds to surveilance aspect of follow up. you dad will also probably have liver function tests done which just check for liver problems that may indicate spread there.
Best of luck,

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