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CEA elevation

melo72's picture
melo72
Posts: 36
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi everybody,
I'm new on this board and care about my mom situation and worry.I have read all the posts for several months and those always kept me strong and hopfull.
My mother CRC has diagnosed in March 2005.
9 times chemotherapy by FOLFOX
2 times RF ablation
1 time chemoembolization in August 2009
There is a big question:
Did anybody experience CEA elevation after chemoembolization when you have been checked by whole body MRI and found there is no mets in lungs, bones,…
I have an appoinment tommorow to see her oncologist.
We have planed to do liver resection next month...now what??

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

CEA levels can rise and fall like Central American Governments. They can happen fast and for many reasons. I do not put too much emphasis on them personally. I would trust the scans more but only my experience and opinion.
Best of luck.
I hope you get more responses.
-phil

melo72's picture
melo72
Posts: 36
Joined: Aug 2009

Thanx phil for the answere but her CEA level is 360 now and she is fine totaly!no symptom,no pain,no tumor found...
At the beginning of her jurney it was 180 after chemo fell to 2.4 and again has rised little by little up to 360 now, even after RF and chemoembolization.

steven12
Posts: 52
Joined: Dec 2008

In your second post you saying "...no tumor found...", but also mentioning in your first post that you are waiting for liver resection??? Is this resection for a tumor or what? If there is a tumor that's why the CEA is elevated probably.
Best wishes to everyone,
Steven

melo72's picture
melo72
Posts: 36
Joined: Aug 2009

Dear Steven,

she has a tumor in the right lobe of the liver.but just it.we are planning to do resection for liver.The tumor shranked from 8.5*6.5 after chemoembolization to 6.5*5.5 with and CEA level elevation from 245 to 360 now.
no tumor found somewherelse!

kayb48
Posts: 13
Joined: Jun 2009

I finished my 12 rounds of chemo on Monday.My cea has been normal until about a month ago, then it went up to a 6, two weeks later it was 5 then 2 weeks after that it was back to a 6. my Dr. told me not to worry it could be from my surgery i had in may. I have got to have a PET scan to make sure nothing is going on. Has anyone had this kind of problem?

neon356
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2004

my CEA levels were never a reliable indicator of my disease. When I was first diagnosed with full blown stage 3 the level was in the low normal range, and continues to vary up and down after 16 years NED. I wouldn't put too much faith in CEA. I sometimes wonder if they should use the test at all, it just seems to get most of us upset when the level goes up, and most Docs don't seem to put too much faith in it.
Carl

dmdwins
Posts: 453
Joined: Aug 2008

Hey Carl,
When you say your CEA's continue to vary up and down after 16 years NED- Have they ever been in the abnormal range during that 16 years?

I ask because my CEA was 3.5 at diagnosis (stageIV) Then had gone down to as low as 1.7. I am currently NED but my CEA has slowly been rising and is now 3.4. I know they fluctuate but just would rather be seeing them go up and down not just up even though it is slight and still WNL.

Congrats on the 16 years NED- I can only hope to be able to follow in your foot steps.

Smiles,
Dawn

neon356
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi Dawn, Before any treatment started my CEA was less than 1, and over the years it's been as high as 300 and as low as less than 1. As I understand it the first CEA levels are used as a baseline and all subsequent ones are compared to that. But with me a good baseline could never be established. Also, as I understand it, CEA levels also can be affected by stress, allergies, smoking, and even diet. If I'm wrong about this I hope someone might chime in and correct me. But please try and not get too upset by your CEA readings. Your NED says it all. I can tell you that in my experience, and others in this group, having had cancer is like a monkey on your back, the fear never quite leaves you. After all this time every little ache, pain, sore throat, stomach ache, etc etc etc still makes me go thru a quick panic that the Beast may have returned. I hope that you can be better at that than I and when you're still NED after all that time it'll just be a distant memory.
Carl

dmdwins
Posts: 453
Joined: Aug 2008

Thanks Carl. My onc says he's not worried and my "logical" brain agrees but I too carry that monkey on my back. The past two days I have had severe back pain with no injury and my "illogical" brain keeps me thinking that it is mets to the spine.So I am not very good at not panicking either.

Dawn

kevinpayne
Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2008

When your CEA was high did you require any treatment, medication or surgery. Did the levels just go down on their own? Did you change your diet or started something proactively?

kevinpayne
Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2008

You're right the CEA levels keep us wondering. My husband, Kevin, dx in February 2007 with Stage IV met in liver CEA was in the 40's. Radiation, 5 FU continuous infusion, surgery and then 6 months of oxlaplatin/5FU. After all of this his CEA was 0. 1 year after surgery his CEA began to rise; 8 in January 09, prompting another surgery after PET scan showed cancer. The CEA never went down, stayed in the teens, in April another surgery, to remove small tumor in liver and spot on diaphragm.(19, 21, 27, 30, now in late September the CEA has continued to rise and is 41, even though the last PET scan in July was negative for signs of cancer; another PET scan to be completed in October----we'll see. I read all of these CEA levels and really know absolutely no more about the usefulness of this test now than if I had never read about them at all.

We're taking each day as it comes and are thankful that at the present time there is no sign of cancer and until somethings shows up on the scan or Kevin's health starts to go down we're singing and thanking the Lord, all the doctors, friends and supporters that as of now, that he's 34 months past dx after Stage IV dx. :) :) :)

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Kathryn_in_MN
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

My oncologist told me that they check CEA levels and in some people they are a good indicator, and in other people they mean nothing. In all the research I've done, it looks like this is very true. So, it is hard to say what hers mean.

But considering she does have a met to the liver, I'd expect elevated numbers until after a re-section if her CEA levels do show a correlation with cancer. I'd be more interested in what the numbers are a while after the re-section. I bet they drop back down then.

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