Cea Levels

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Cea Levels

by Cat99 on Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:00 AM

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I had an elevated CEA level of 6 before my bowel resection surgery in April. It turned out to be a small cancer and they thought they got it all. Then my CEA level went to 13 when I had a blood test 2 months after surgery. I then had a PET scan which didn't show any cancer. I will have another blood test this week to see if my CEA level has dropped or even returned to normal. Has anyone else had this experience? The doctors seem to be clueless about why my CEA level went up instead of down. The surgeon wanted to wait for 3 months before testing again. The gastro guy suggested waiting a month, which is why I am having the blood test this week. They say other things can cause elevated CEAs but then don't tell me what other things those would be. These guys are hard to talk to and I am no shrinking violet when it comes to asking questions. I'd rather have the info than sit here and let my imagination run wild.

Cea

by Oncrx on Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:00 AM

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Cancer of the colon (large intestine) commonly secretes a protein known as Carcinoembryonic Antigen or CEA. Thus, the blood test for CEA is positive in 70% of patients with such cancers. High values of CEA are found with metastatic spread of the cancer to other parts of the body. Persisting elevated or progressively rising levels of CEA after surgical treatment usually indicate incomplete surgical resection. CEA tests are not recommended for screening for cancer. They are measured before an operation for bowel cancer in selected cases. Following surgery it is recommended that CEA levels be monitored every 2 to 3 months for at least 2 years. The CEA is raised in conditions other than colon cancer. Smokers have increased values by about 10%. Increases are seen in other forms of cancer (lung, pancreas, stomach, breast), and in various non-cancerous conditions (hepatitis, emphysema, cirrhosis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, pulmonary infections, gastritis, gastric ulcer, pancreatitis, polyps of the colon and rectum, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, benign prostatic hypertropy and renal disease. Let us know what the new level is. It sounds like you caught it early, which is good.

Cea Test Results

by Cat99 on Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:00 AM

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I wrote a message yesterday (on 8/13) about my CEA levels. My CEA level before bowel resection (5/06) was 6. 2 months after surgery it was 13. Today registered at 10.6. The doctor thought he got all the cancer with the resection. The path report said there was no indication the cancer had spread to the sub mucosa. I have had no treatment: chemo, etc. I was bummed that my CEA hadn't dropped to normal. I have heard that the CEA level usually drops to normal within 1 to 2 months after surgery. I am now just about 3 1/2 months out from surgery. Am I worrying about nothing? I haven't heard from my doctor yet about my test results from this morning ---hopefully he will be encouraged that it is dropping and alleviate some of my fear that it isn't back to normal. I'm just wondering why I am so abnormal and the CEA level didn't drop back to normal if all the cancer was removed. (I had a PET scan after the CEA test of 13---and the scan was negative for cancer.) Are PET scans a great test for this? I know that other things can be the reason for an elevated CEA level. Would a PET scan find some of these other abnormalities? I am a woman who drinks a moderate amount of alcohol. For some people it doesn't take alot of alcohol to cause damage to the liver. Would the PET scan show any abnormalities with my liver? My liver enzyme test has always been normal. Thanks for your responses!

Cea

by Oncrx on Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:00 AM

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I would not worry too much about your CEA. The good news is that the surgeon said you had negative margins and the PET scan was normal. The PET is good for picking up cancer cells that are growing. It would not pick up other causes of an elevated CEA or liver abnormalities other than mets. The liver enzymes would be better for picking up liver failure. How often do you get repeat PET scans?

Thanks Tooncrx

by Cat99 on Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:00 AM

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To Oncrx, Thanks for your responses. You seem very knowledgeable about CEA tests, etc. Do you have a medical background or, and I hope this isn't the case, have you or a friend/relative had their own contact with colon cancer? My doctor called this afternoon and he is very pleased with the drop in the CEA level. He is my gastro doc. He talked to an oncologist who also agreed that it was a significant drop to go from 13.6 to 10.6. I am breathing a little easier now. They both believe that I am doing well. I will have another CEA test in a month. I have only had the one PET scan ( a month ago) and I know of no plans that I will have another. It is hard to let go of the anxiety I have been feeling. I am usually a very optismistic person but I have not dealt well with this medical crisis at all. I feel like I have been on high alert for so long--it is hard to let it go. Thanks for your responses--they have helped!

Cea Levels

by Stever1955 on Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:00 AM

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It sounds like your doctors caught your cancer very early and stage 1 if you did not need chemo. I was told it is not unheard of for cea levels to rise after surgery. I know it's hard not to worry but unless the cea starts to rise dramatically or they find something on a petscan, catscan or mri it's best to just make sure you get your blood tested and if the numbers rise your doctor should do another petscan or a catscan. Catching something at it's earliest stages increases the odds of successful treatment. a drop is great news. My thoughts on the worrying thing is to be thankful for what you have and don't let the disease kill you before your dead. Worrying about it only takes away from you enjoying your life. having the tests, surgery etc. takes up enough time without letting it take up your every thought. Works for me, may not work for you but thought I'd share it. Like with anything use it if it works throw it out if it doesn't :) Good Luck

Cea

by Judyoo on Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:00 AM

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hi, i was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer 2 months ago. my cea has not gone above 3. i have 3 lesions on my liver and i have started chemo with hopes lesions will shrink so i can have surgery. my case according to docs is strange. i had a cancerous polyp removed and pathology said area surrounding was negative and no vascular invasion so come back in 3 years. luckily i had a cat scan and pet scan done and the 3 small lesions on the liver were found. i don't know what good a cea marker is because mine has not moved and docs were surprised it was so low since i had metastisis. my cea level is done every other week and it stays the same so maybe this is not an accurate test??? i refuse to look at statistics because i am only 39, my liver functions are normal all other bloodwork stays normal, i am not sick, i have handled chemo good no sickness or side effects i am on 5fu, oxilplatin and avastin and i am sure it will do it's job. i know metastisis is very ominous but i refuse to give in i have a small child and i plan on being here when she is off to college. anyone else out there like me?? thank, judy in florida

Keep Your Positive Attitude

by Cat99 on Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:00 AM

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Judy, Your attitude will serve you well. Sounds like you are tolerating your treatment well. If your docs said to come back in 3 years, how did you happen to get CAT and PET scans? Did they do these scans shortly after your surgery? I wish you all the best!

Cea

by Judyoo on Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:00 AM

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hi, well luckily my doc thought to have ct and pet scan done because i was diagnosed with colon cancer but they thought it was completly removed. good thing because if i had wandered off and went back in 3 years (if i even lived that long with no treatment) i would surely have stood no chance at all. at 1st i did get on the internet and look at the horrible statistics and i thought no way that is me. i asked doc and she said most statistics don't include new treatments and are done on people much older and in poor health when diagnosed with stage 4. i am considered a healthy stage 4 if that makes sense. i am hoping cancer did not metastise very long ago because i had ct scan done exactly 1 year ago for hysterectomy and there was nothing on my liver so i am hoping my cancer cells are not yet in the trillions. i plan on going to md anderson once chemo is over i have 3 more to go and i have no side effects luckily yet from it except my hair is shedding and i got a rash on my neck so im hoping all normal blood tests are a good sign. i have not been supported with nuelesta or procrit as all my red and white cells are where they are supposed to be which i here is a good thing my body is maintaning and i am at the ymca every morning working out so my plan is to prove the docs wrong and be here when my 8 year old graduates high school 10 years from now. hope i don't sound to cocky but people are telling me a strong positive attitude can do wonders along with prayer so thats what im doing. judy in florida

Cea up

by Ldrollins on Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:00 AM

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am 36, years old. april 2005 surgery for stage 3 colon cancer. after surgery doc says cancer not penetrated through wall of colon. but came back 10 positive nodes out of 20. cea was 6 after surgery then down to .8 now 6 months after chemo has risen to 23. had pet/ct scan 3 spots on liver lit up on pet scan, nothing shown on ct. have two teens, single mother. am having another mri of liver nest week.
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