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Need a little help please.......

Posts: 827
Joined: Jan 2010

Originally Dx'd Stage II A/B, Resection of right colon, 6 months chemo. 3 1/2 yrs. out from surgery; 3 yrs. out from chemo. CEA before and after surgery has always been in the 4's. Pet scan last Sept....clear. Cea today 5.6. Pet scan ordered for Thursday 28th.


My question, could the pneumonia and sinus infection I had from middle January - mid Feb ( and still haven't bounced back) have skewed my CEA results? Could severe osteoarthritis skew it? Am I grabbing at straws?

I left the Oncs office with an assurance that all of my bloodwork looked good but the CEA wasn't back yet. Had an appointment to come back in 6 months.Got home, phone rang...and,WAAAAAA!

Truth be known I have felt like crap for several months, knew something might be wrong but tried not to focus on cancer.

Anyone else have this happen and what was the outcome? Don't mind telling you that I am a little freaked. The imagination is a terrible monster at times like these.



Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

I am thinking that the pneumonia could be a factor but I am not sure. Try not to worry. I do think it's important to listen to your body. You could be feeling like crap for many non cancer related issues. Put the situation out of your mind. The results of the pet will tell what's going on. I think you're fine. Don't drive yourself crazy. Please keep us updated.


Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2009

obviously nothing compared to COPD but a temporary lung problem nonetheless(with potential to scar lungs) can influence CEA as well....

Posts: 271
Joined: Nov 2011

I didn't see any mention of COPD in the op. Did I miss something? Two people in my family have COPD and it's not just pneumonia but a life threatening disease/ condition. They are siblings whose parents smoked in the home and car. 

Re your CEA.  What is your lab's high normal for a female non-smoker?  My lab has a high normal of 3.9.  Many have high normals of 2.5. A CEA of over 4 for 3 1/2 years is something I'd question.  You most probably can find a webpage for your lab which will show the values for each lab test.

MANY things can cause an elevated CEA.  In fact, SamT who is a chemist does his own test using Siemen's and said two tests from the same vial of blood will fluctuate by .5 EVERY time.  There is an error range of up to 10%, if I remember correctly.  

A PET scan will ease you mind.  If something has popped up, better to quickly get it out of there and continue on your journey to CURED! 

I'll be watching for an update and hope to see great news. 


Posts: 827
Joined: Jan 2010

Patch...I don't have COPD. I think Steve-colocan was speaking of his situation.

Thanks everyone. I hope we will be able to call this little set back "Pneumonia related".


Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2009

among other stuff)is that if COPD does in fact affect CEA in some people,perhaps pneumonia can as well...If my reference is wrong on COPD and CEA,sorry


(paragraph above "Follow Up Tests")





annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

but it looks like your CEA has always been low?  Does your doc think that CEA is a good indicator for you?  As I'm sure you know, it doesn't reflect cancer activity accurately for a lot of people...hopefully this will be the case for you, and this recent small increase won't be meaningful (except in a good way-NO cancer!).  Keep us posted~Ann Alexandria

Posts: 827
Joined: Jan 2010

My CEA has ALWAYS been below 5. My 1st recorded CEA was 4.8 and it has stayed in the 4's for 3 1/2 yrs. Doc always said she wasn't concerned with it. Then on Friday it was 5.6 and she has ordered a PET. I was very sick back in Jan. & Feb. w/ flu, then pneumonia & sinus infection. and still have lingering effects such as cough & fatigue. I guess I am just trying to convince myself that infection is what has caused the sudden rise in CEA. I had a PET/CT 6 months ago so I guess if it IS anything we will be catching it early.


thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Oncologists should look at multiple cancer markers.  At first my oncologist was just watching my h5IAA protein.   Then my CEA was reviewed and it was 1125!  They looked for a tumor and easily found it.   Now my CEA is around 2 and I have multiple tumors. Bottom line multile markers need to be watched for posible tumor growth.   Also, One needs to be active in their own treatment!  It is in your best interest to have a good diet, exercise, adding supplements, and maintaining good mental health.


Best Always,  mike

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