Early diagnosis

10 Posts | Page(s): 1 

Early diagnosis

by Krystyna on Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:33 AM

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Last year I went to my local medical centre (as I do not have a regular GP) to get a blood test done as I do every 18 months-2 years.  I was chatting to a friend about it whose mother died aged 62 of cancer which started as a skin cancer and spread through her whole body.  She was a fit and athletic woman who had a healthy diet and played tennis regularly.  She told me that if her mother had known about the CEA blood test (a cancer marker) she would still be alive today.

So at my check up, I asked the doctor to add the CEA test to the usual blood check for amnesia, cholesterol, sugar levels, etc etc.

The test showed an elevated level which pointed to a cancer or tumour in the colon.  I had a CT scans which showed the blockage but also confirmed that all other organs were clear.

I have since had a colonoscopy (where the surgeon said there was a total blockage), a sigmoid colon resection with formation of a stoma and ileostomy.  After 3 months I had another CEA blood test which showed the level had dropped to within the normal range, after which I had the ileostomy reversed.  Unfortunately, there were several adhesions around the stoma and the previous resection, and the surgeon had to perform another resection of the colon although he did close the ileostomy.

That was on the 1st June 2012, 2nd op on the 31st August.  I am coping pretty well although I have erratic bowel movements with no warning.  I am 58 years old and have never taken drugs and have only been to hospital to have children.

There is no cancer in my family so it is not hereditary.  I have always had a problem with constipation - don't most women? My father used to eat prunes and he had the same problem.

I had no symptoms, no blood in the stool, no pain.

I was very lucky that my friend suggested the CEA test as my surgeon said that it was caught early.

I have not had to have any other treatment but will continue to have the blood tested and CT scans.

I live in Australia - maybe the test is called by another name in other countries.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2013!

Krys

RE: Early diagnosis

by Samuelly on Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:50 PM

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You were very lucky.  But just to be clear, I also had no symptoms.  Just had some unusual gas.  My CEA never indicated that I had cancer either.  A colonoscopy revealed that I had cancer.  My CEA has NEVER elevated to show I had cancer.  I was diagnosed as stage 3.  So please don't depend on just CEA screenings.  I think the best check is the colonoscopy. 

Jan

RE: Early diagnosis

by Krystyna on Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:28 AM

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On Jan 19, 2013 10:50 PM Samuelly wrote:

You were very lucky.  But just to be clear, I also had no symptoms.  Just had some unusual gas.  My CEA never indicated that I had cancer either.  A colonoscopy revealed that I had cancer.  My CEA has NEVER elevated to show I had cancer.  I was diagnosed as stage 3.  So please don't depend on just CEA screenings.  I think the best check is the colonoscopy. 

Jan

Hi Jan

yes I was very lucky - mine was an obstruction which turned to cancer but was caught early.

Best wishes to you and hope that you are winning the battle.

Krys

RE: Early diagnosis

by retirednurse111 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:42 AM

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On Jan 17, 2013 11:33 AM Krystyna wrote:

Last year I went to my local medical centre (as I do not have a regular GP) to get a blood test done as I do every 18 months-2 years.  I was chatting to a friend about it whose mother died aged 62 of cancer which started as a skin cancer and spread through her whole body.  She was a fit and athletic woman who had a healthy diet and played tennis regularly.  She told me that if her mother had known about the CEA blood test (a cancer marker) she would still be alive today.

So at my check up, I asked the doctor to add the CEA test to the usual blood check for amnesia, cholesterol, sugar levels, etc etc.

The test showed an elevated level which pointed to a cancer or tumour in the colon.  I had a CT scans which showed the blockage but also confirmed that all other organs were clear.

I have since had a colonoscopy (where the surgeon said there was a total blockage), a sigmoid colon resection with formation of a stoma and ileostomy.  After 3 months I had another CEA blood test which showed the level had dropped to within the normal range, after which I had the ileostomy reversed.  Unfortunately, there were several adhesions around the stoma and the previous resection, and the surgeon had to perform another resection of the colon although he did close the ileostomy.

That was on the 1st June 2012, 2nd op on the 31st August.  I am coping pretty well although I have erratic bowel movements with no warning.  I am 58 years old and have never taken drugs and have only been to hospital to have children.

There is no cancer in my family so it is not hereditary.  I have always had a problem with constipation - don't most women? My father used to eat prunes and he had the same problem.

I had no symptoms, no blood in the stool, no pain.

I was very lucky that my friend suggested the CEA test as my surgeon said that it was caught early.

I have not had to have any other treatment but will continue to have the blood tested and CT scans.

I live in Australia - maybe the test is called by another name in other countries.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2013!

Krys

Dear Krys,

I also was dx with colorectal caner 14 months ago.  I have had 28 days of oral chemo, a 7 hr surgery, IV chemo (6 tx).  Almost died from dehydration, another hospitalization for that.  They had to reanastamosis my colon, thank God, for that ileostomy almost killed me!

I am feeling great, but found out today that my cea level jumped from 2.9 to 4.9.  Being cautious my dr is having that level repeated in 6 weeks.  I am a smoker, ugh, no lectures please. But I was told that the cea levels are higher as in 4-8.

I am really scared, can you help me?

I also have erratic stools...and thats normal.  So glad you are doing well.............stay in touch....Fran  ( on facebook you can find me as Fran Callahan Kaminski   look me up!

And yes this is hereditary, my father had colon cancer.....

God Bless You,

Fran

RE: Early diagnosis

by Krystyna on Wed Jan 23, 2013 05:53 AM

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Hi Fran

My prayers go out to you for your suffering! 

I feel I was very lucky although I still have irregular stools and often get taken by surprise and can't make the 8 steps to the toilet.  I am a Real Estate Agent but haven't been able to work since last May.

The CEA levels are higher when you are a smoker - I know - UGH - I am too, but I try to keep to about 5 a day and I don't buy the packets any more (which are full of the harmful chemicals).  I buy tobacco and roll my own (doesn't look very ladylike but I do it at home).  The filters often fall out and the shapes are often strange, but good for a laugh. My husband thinks I don't smoke, so when he's around, I don't!

Good luck with your journey .... you're welcome to ask any questions, but I have only learnt about this on the internet (my surgeon wasn't very talkative) and I was very lucky that my problem was an obstruction in the colon which became cancerous, it wasn't cancer of the colon as such.

xx

RE: Early diagnosis

by retirednurse111 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 02:58 PM

Quote | Reply

On Jan 23, 2013 5:53 AM Krystyna wrote:

Hi Fran

My prayers go out to you for your suffering! 

I feel I was very lucky although I still have irregular stools and often get taken by surprise and can't make the 8 steps to the toilet.  I am a Real Estate Agent but haven't been able to work since last May.

The CEA levels are higher when you are a smoker - I know - UGH - I am too, but I try to keep to about 5 a day and I don't buy the packets any more (which are full of the harmful chemicals).  I buy tobacco and roll my own (doesn't look very ladylike but I do it at home).  The filters often fall out and the shapes are often strange, but good for a laugh. My husband thinks I don't smoke, so when he's around, I don't!

Good luck with your journey .... you're welcome to ask any questions, but I have only learnt about this on the internet (my surgeon wasn't very talkative) and I was very lucky that my problem was an obstruction in the colon which became cancerous, it wasn't cancer of the colon as such.

xx

Thanks for answering Krys.......my cancer was colorectal, which has a higher recurrence rate.  You are very lucky that yours was a cancer of the colon only.

Do you know what your last cea level was?

I hear you about the stools, ugh!!  But I have learned to thank God for stools like ours, much improvement over that damned ileostomy.

Where do you live, and your age?  I am as you prob can see a retired nurse, age 65 now.  64 at time of dx 14 months ago.  I pray alot and put my situation in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am now again dealing with alot of fear, and I ask for your prayers.  We ( my husband and I) are going on a cruise in 17 days.....wish I hadn't gotton this news right before we are leaving, but such is life. 

God Bless you and hope to get to know you well...have a great and blessed day.....With the promise of a prayer, Fran xoxoxo

RE: Early diagnosis

by Krystyna on Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:33 PM

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Hi Fran

try to put things out of your mind and enjoy your cruise - you will have a wonderful time!

I think my CEA level was 4.9 and I have to have another test and CT scan in the next few weeks and go back to the surgeon for a check up.  Apparently the level drops when you stop smoking!!!

I am 58 (59 in June) and have only been to hospital previously to have 2 children so this all came as a bit of a shock to me.

My prayers are with you, sending love, Krys xx

RE: Early diagnosis

by retirednurse111 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 05:41 PM

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On Jan 23, 2013 11:33 PM Krystyna wrote:

Hi Fran

try to put things out of your mind and enjoy your cruise - you will have a wonderful time!

I think my CEA level was 4.9 and I have to have another test and CT scan in the next few weeks and go back to the surgeon for a check up.  Apparently the level drops when you stop smoking!!!

I am 58 (59 in June) and have only been to hospital previously to have 2 children so this all came as a bit of a shock to me.

My prayers are with you, sending love, Krys xx

Thanks Krys, will try to do that!  I am really excited about our cruise.........sending my love and prayers!  Fran

RE: Early diagnosis

by Samuelly on Fri Jan 25, 2013 06:21 AM

Quote | Reply

Thanks Krys

Yes I am winning I think, It's been almost 3 years with no recurrance or mets so I'm doing well.

I hope you are hanging in there too!

Jan

RE: Early diagnosis

by Krystyna on Sat Jan 26, 2013 04:45 AM

Quote | Reply

Hi Jan - good to hear you are winning.  Stay positive.

I am going well - still a check-up to have in the next few weeks but am feeling fine.

Krys

xx

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