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Is it possible.....

Posts: 100
Joined: Mar 2004

In June 06, my dad had a clean pet scan and a cea of 5.?. In September 06, his pet scan report said multiple spots (no # given) and a cea of 55. Not on treatment between June and September. By end of October 06, cea was 189. Went on treatment (avastin) and cea dropped to 57 by February 07. Recently increased to 74 while on treatment still. Is it possible that some of the spots were killed by the treatment even though the cea has been on a rollercoaster ride? Has anyone experienced this? We are having a pet scan next week and getting the results on May 11. I am so nervous. I know I have posted about this before but need all the support that I can get. This is my only outlet for talking about this besides my parents. Thanks!!!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

First of all, I am sending my biggest hugs along to both you and dad.

The big trouble with PET scans is that they only find the cancers that are metabolizing at the moment the test is done. My example...after my first PET for the rectal cancer showed a spot uptaking on my breast, the second PET after chemo/rads for the rectal showed no breast involvement. I pushed for a biopsy on the breast, stage IIB cancer...it had just been 'hurt' by the chemo...but not destroyed...sigh...

CEA can also be a wierd indicator...can go up and down for more reasons than just the beast. Including chemo itself.

Please feel free to come and vent anytime you want...we are family, after all!

Hugs, Kathi

nudgie's picture
Posts: 1483
Joined: Sep 2006

I wish I could provide the answer you are seeking but I can't. My CEA was never taken, so my care team really does know if this is even a good marker for me. I had to have emergency surgery due to a total obstruction of the colon. But when it comes to using CEA levels as a marker most folks will tell you that this is just one marker used and looked at along with many others. For instance, smokers CEA levels are higher than non-smokers.

Sending prayers to you and your Dad. Please keep us posted

Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

I'd rely more on the PET scan results than the cea level. It's not a great marker for everyone as others have said , and it's pretty variable. Sorry , I know waiting is really hard , but the PET/CT is more conclusive as we've been told by the oncologist. My husbands cea was 10 pre surgery with multiple mets so it's not a great indicator of stage of disease . If theres a rise though, a PET should indicate if there is progression . We were also told to expect a rise in CEA sometimes when you are on chemo as it releases what we hope are dead cells. Good luck and God Bless

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