Life with bowel cancer


CEA checks.

I was diagnosed with stage 3 sigmoid cancer in June 2017. I have had a surgical resection and completed 6 cycles of FOLFOX chemotherapy which finished the end of November. I am not due a follow up CT scan until June to confirm either way if my treatment has been successful. I completely understand that CEA is not a diagnostic tool however should this be checked on a regular basis xx.


hi @Michelej My hubby was stage 4, now cancer free and is now on mop up chemo, so does have CEA checked every two weeks along with the rest of his bloods. On speaking to his Onc he will have CEA checked every 3 months after we finish treatment in April, and then scans every 6 months, but i`m pushing for scans every 3 months for the first year (to ease some of my fears) :x::x::x:


Hmmm, this does seem like a long time after completion of treatment @Michelej

I thought scans were often done at the end of treatment to assess the success or otherwise of treatment. I think the timescales vary so much with different oncologists and areas of the country.

I have my CEA done fortnightly as part of my pre chemo bloods and a CT scan every 3 months to assess my disease status but I’m on chemo indefinitely. I’ll tag @Charlotte Nurse Advisor in the hope that she can advise you.

Sending all my very best wishes,



Hi @Michelej I have been just booked in for six monthly scans and bloods, happy to leave it to them at Christies and testing may vary depending on circumstances? :x:

Charlotte Nurse Advisor

Dear @Michelej,

Following adjuvant chemotherapy for stage 3 bowel cancer it is normal to repeat the scan at 6 months. This is because with stage 3 you are not looking to see if there has been a response to treatment the same way you are with stage 4 disease. The purpose of follow-up scans etc. in stage 3 disease is to monitor for any signs of recurrence.

CEA readings are used as part of follow-up but are only useful in this regard if your CEA was elevated prior to your original surgery - was this the case?

Kind regards,



Thanks for all your replies xx @Charlotte Nurse Advisor - I didn't even realise that my CEA level was checked throughout my treatment?? It does seem an awfully long time to wait til I can have a follow up scan?? I will just carry on drinking my green tea and hope for the best!! :x::x:


I was stage 3 T4n1mo. 6 months chemo finished Nov. 3 months bloods and 6 month full body scans now :x: