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Cancer Returning to Colon Question

Posts: 100
Joined: Mar 2004

Hello, I recently posted about my dad's pet scan lighting up in his liver and colon. My dad had surgery in May 2002 to remove colon tumor and July 2002 to remove liver met. In 2003, his colon lite up on a pet scan and we had a colonoscopy - clean. In 2004, his colon as well as spots on his liver lite up on a pet scan, we had a colonoscopy - clean plus his colon was reconnected and biopsied (no cancer). Last year, prior to surgery at Johns Hopkins to remove liver mets, the surgeon ordered a colonoscopy - once again clean. Now we have entered a bad phase. His cea went from 3.9 to 55 in 25 days and his pet scan shows multiple spots of hypermetabolic activity in his liver and hypermetabolic activity near the surgical line in his colon. We are having a colonoscopy on Thursday. I am very upset. Back in 2002, our oncologist told us that if it does not go back to the colon within three years, it probably is not going to. Has anyone experienced this. We are 4 1/2 years into this and am concerned this has happened. We are very confused because my dad was responding well to erbitrux (finished in June) and then all of this happened in September. Help!!

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

My heart goes out to you. I certainly don't have any great answers for you. But, I think you are absolutely doing the right thing by having a repeat colonoscopy on Thursday. Yes, it is of some concern that the CEA has risen, and that the PET is lighting up. But, those are both tests, which are not necessarily 100% accurate (especially the CEA. And even the PET only indicates 'activity' - for which there could be several explanations). But I realize that this waiting period is agonizing. Also frustrating to be 4.5 years away from the original surgery, and now this. Hang in there and please keep us posted.

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

I'm wondering if maybe scar tissue is what is appearing as something else? It is hard to feel like one minute you're "safe" only to have it creep back up on you. I will hold your dad and family in my thoughts, as I do everyone here, that this will be only temporary and back on track to being cancerfree.

Don't lose hope!


Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

I can understand your feelings. I know that inflammation can cause a pet scan to show activity, so there are some other explanations other than cancer. Please know that I will be thinking of you both. Please let us know as soon as you get the results.


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Oh, my dear....I am sending strong, positive vibes to you both! A colonoscopy is good...make SURE he is whistle clean!!!! Some stuff can be very small...
I HATE that the beast is terrorizing you and dad!!!

Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 100
Joined: Mar 2004

Last year, two spots lite up in the left side of the liver (confirmed by ct, mri, and ulstrasound). After cutting off the left side of the liver and biopsing the spots (not cancer). So, a false positive is possible. Also, this recent pet scan was done at a new place and not very well-written. The new oncologist (parents retired and moved to Williamsburg) did not seemed worried about the colon and said that some of the spots on the pet scan were too gray (not bright enough). At that time, my dad's cea was 3.9. At that time, he told us to wait 6 weeks and do another pet scan. Then, he did another cea test and it went to 55 in 25 days. So, he sent us to surgeon #1 in Williamsburg and he said he could do nothing. So we went back to our surgeon at Johns Hopkins who ordered a colonoscopy and wants to get my dad on treatment immediately (Johns Hopkins trials). We will do another scan in 2 months. He did not rule out surgery down the road. This is all very shocking for us because we had such a great surgery last year, and he responded well to eribtrux. He had a ct in April (noted some small hyerpdensities - just to watch - nothing wrong with the colon). Had a pet in June - clean. Then all of this happened in September. Very confusing. I appreciate all of your answers. This is the best site ever for support.

vinny3's picture
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

That is really a difficult situation. With the liver mets even being there last year it would seem that mets in his liver are the most likely source of the elevated CEA. He could have it at the surgical site but as we have seen with others it sometimes is just inflammation there. I would not be as concerned with the hyperactivity at the surgical site as it is more accessible to removal than the liver mets.

Sorry that you, your dad, and your family are going through this. Your have our support and prayers. Dick

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