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Report on my latest CT Scan

Posts: 305
Joined: Feb 2009

Yesterday I had my doctor's appointment and chemo. I slept all through chemo, got home and went right back to bed and back to sleep. Slept until 5:00 p.m. then went back to bed at 9:30 p.m. It really wiped me out this time. I feel okay today, though, still a little tired.

The scans were "unremarkable". Of my seven tumors four have grown very little and three have shrunk very little. And by very little, I mean little. Like .2, .1, .6 being the biggest growth. So Dr. Patel called them stable and I agree. The only bad thing was my CEA had gone from 3.9 to 5.1. It's the first time in a year my CEA has been up to or over 5. Because of this, he'll check my CEA every week for a month, if it keeps going up he'll do another CT Scan in a month instead of three months. My doctor goes by the CEA a lot. He'll accept it as a change in my status, before he'll accept a CT Scan as a change. He thinks PET Scans are just $5,000 wastes of money.

Debbie in Arkansas

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Debbie,

I think your scan is good news overall! My onc watches my CEA carefully, too. Mine is currently at 64, but I won't go into that- trying not to think about it too much & I have my scan coming up on Feb. 12. Interesting how the oncs have different opinions on the different types of scans... my onc pretty much relies on the PET/CT- that's what I'm getting on the 12th. My last PET showed no increase in tumor growth, but it did show an increased uptake, something we wouldn't have seen in just a CT, of course. So, we'll see what this one shows!


John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Hey Debbie !

It sounds like you have a decent doctor! It's best not to weigh too
heavily on either/any test, the data should always be compared,
and weighed totally.

Scans are often taken at very different angles, frequently very
different from the one it's being compared to. That can cause
a "spot" to appear larger or smaller than it previously was, since
a different angle of the "slice" is what's actually being compared.

Think of how you cut food in the kitchen.... A slice made at a
perfect 90 degrees through an stick of pepperoni will yield a
nice round piece. If you angle the knife, you'll get an elongated
egg-shaped piece.

When the machine scans, it does so in slices, and if off by any
margin, the slice will be different enough to make it appear
bigger or smaller. So it's best not to weigh too heavily on a
scan alone.

The CEA test is far from accurate also. Many times a cancer will
not produce CEA, and/or the amount produced can change, even
though the cancer didn't. So that test shouldn't be weighed too
heavily alone, either.

It's the cumulative results that matters, and a good doctor will
take the time and care to do that.

Try to keep in mind also, that you are entitled to have a second and
third opinion (or more), for "good" reports as well as the "bad" ones.

If something worries you, or if you think the doctor may have
overlooked something, get another opinion from a doctor that
isn't a member of the same group.

You deserve to have the best. It's your life!

Stay healthy!


geotina's picture
Posts: 2122
Joined: Oct 2009

Our oncologist also has not done a Pet Scan on George. We have only had CT Scans. Several on the board have only had CT scans. I'm not sure exactly why. Guess the CT showed him all he needed to know with George's Stage IV. CEA is a very good indicator for Geroge. At the start of all this his CEA was 584 or 594 and now it is at 17 and continuing to go down.

Stable is good although you probably want more, you want those tumors to shrink to nothing and hopefully the chemo will do that.

Take care - Tina

Posts: 305
Joined: Feb 2009

Yes, I would like them to shrink to nothing, but according to the doctor that will never happen because of the kind of tumors they are. You see, my cancer wasn't in the colon, but in the appendix. The original tumor (size 35 cm x 30 cm) was a mass of mucinous adenocarcinoma. The mucous was sticky and went behind several of my organs and in places that couldn't be seen. These cells have grown to the seven tumors I have now. I asked the doctor if he raised the amount of 5FU and Avastin I am getting if the tumors wouldn't go away and he assured me they would not. I have contacted a couple of other doctors who agree with him.
I guess I'm "stuck" with these tumors and will have to learn to live my life going to chemo every other week for the rest of my life. Man, 50 years of this is going to be boring. LOL

Debbie in Arkansas

geotina's picture
Posts: 2122
Joined: Oct 2009

You learn something everyday, never knew about mucous thing. Well,if the tumors are stable then that is actually really good news and the chemo is working. Take care - Tina

Posts: 21
Joined: Sep 2009

I am in your same situation having Mucinous adenocarcinoma of the appendix. But I don't think we are stuck. I have stage 4 and I think there is some type of alternative med that we can find that would help or a combo of different types of treatment. We have to keep looking because chemo just breaks down your body. you thoughts?

Posts: 305
Joined: Feb 2009

I've called two other doctors, one at the Cancer Institute in Tulsa...they have no room for me. One in Houston, they don't think I'm a candidate for their treatment.

So, unless my doctor has some other ideas I'm sunk.

Debbie in Arkansas

kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

Isn't it amazing how the word "unremarkable" has become so valuable? It's now one of my favorite words. Amazing because 2 1/2 yrs ago I would have found that word quite boring.

This all sounds very encouraging. Congratulations.


luv3jay's picture
Posts: 534
Joined: May 2009

Unremarkable sounds pretty darn good to me! Congratulations!


lesvanb's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008

unremarkable is a wonderful word in the medical world. Good news!


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