Wellness during and after treatment


CEA Blood Test

Hi All, had the results of my CEA blood test yesterday, oncology asking me to have them done six monthly now. Back in July 2018 the reading was 1.8 and yesterday I was told it was 1.7. The question I am asking is.......how effective are the CEA blood tests for cancer patients having had bowel cancer. I have read that they are a good indicator but not necessarily reliable for some cancers. I find it hard to believe that oncology would ask for them if they were potentially unreliable so hoping those that know can share your wisdom 😄


@DianeS I have my bloods taken at either my hospital or GP practice, nowhere else. I really need to find out what my CEA level was pre my bowel resection but I’m almost positive that it was never mentioned although I’m sure it was taken. Moving onto the scans, which I agree is the real indicator, I have been questioned by my naturopath doctor about CT scanning. I have had the lecture that cancer patients should not have to endure immense radiation for scans. I’m told that the radiation in a Ct scan is equal to having 400 x-rays at the same time!!! Have a MRI scan he says but my consultant has never given me the option and frankly, I feel cheeky questioning him 😩


Hi @AlanH I totally agree with the concern about radiation and because U had recurrence and am at high risk of it coming back again I have had PETscan every three months. My oncologist and I had this discussion regarding over exposure but he said that compared to my risk of a returning cancer the effects of the radiation are minimal. I only ever had one MRI which was used as a comparison to the PETscan when they saw something suspicious on my liver. I’m sure someone will have your original CEA level, can you ask your GP to look into this for you? Love D :x::x::x::x:

Kate M

Hi @AlanH. Don't know how reliable CEA marker tests are. When I had my last scan my consultant was very reassuring it would be good as my CEA marker had gone down from 45 to 3. When the scan results came back my liver mets had grown and so my Folfiri was stopped. I still don't understand how my markers could be down yet the cancer still growing. KateM :x::x:


I'm not so sure whether it's a good indicator or not. I had lots of blood tests when I was ill and none picked up cancer. My tumor was 6.5 cm when detected. I've since had CEA tests that have come back at 1.7 and that range. It may work for some but I have not got a blood test to go on as mine was not an indicator to start with. I did read some where only 40 percent of bowel cancers are picked up with CEA . I'm not sure where I read that though.


I recall my CEA level being at 18 when I had the tumour when first diagnosed in Feb 2018. It reduced a little following radio/chemo and then after surgery ( TPE) in Oct 2018, the 3 month post surgery level Feb 2019) was 0.8. My PSA level ( for prostate cancer) also went from 6 to 0.01. Due to have an MRI today. Fingers crossed! PET scan in Sept 2018 revealed no spread from the bowel cancer.


Fingers crossed for more positive news from the MRI @Bluesmusicman🤞


Thank you kindly bettebette. Results in a week or two


I was diagnosed with dukes c N2 in november and the tumour was 65mm!
I had a CEA blood test in the July from my GP and when i phoned for the results was told nothing wrong with bloods at all. They checked anemia and iron levels too.
I have the results emailed over and still to this day cannot understand how my bloods were normal with that aggresive monster growing inside me!


It’s a strange old lot, my bloods were all fine on diagnosis, and most continued that way, but my calcium and cea got higher. The calcium is currently normal following a parathyroidectomy in January (blood tests every week atm) but the cea is 31! However it was 28 last October when I had a clear scan, it seems to make very little sense. I am waiting for another scan appointment atm.
I have done some internet searches and it seems there can be anomalies (lung disease for example), but I suppose my point is that an elevated cea is, as others in this thread have said, only really ‘useful’ in conjunction with other outcomes.


Hi @AlanH don't feel cheeky asking consultant for MRI unless he could give good reason why not .. should be no problem to them if it helps reassure/check. Lots of love Annie :x::x::x:


Thanks everyone for your replies, I have just returned home from work and there’s a letter from the hospital for my second post op six month CT scan for 4th April, now the worrying can start 🙄


Best of luck @AlanH hope everything turns out well for you. Out of all the stages of treatment so far, waiting is one of the worst times.


Best of luck for 4th April, and hope you get some positive news. :x::x::x:


thank you @DianeS, that time flew by, CT scan tomorrow and just found out that I probably won’t get my results until 1st May as I now have consultant appointment for then 😩. I see you are doing fantastic, so pleased for you. Alan


Hi @AlanH I hope all goes well tomorrow, we will be following soon as partner having last chemo in 2 weeks and scan soon after. The waiting is just awful, I really do sympathise. I’m already thinking about it 24/7 and I keep telling myself worrying won’t change anything. Will be thinking of you, take care :x::x:


Hope your scan went well @AlanH waiting for the results is so terrible, and the 1st May seems a long way off, but I’m sure it will come quickly. I’m doing well thank you, pray it continues love D :x::x::x::x::x:


Hello @AlanH. Hope your scan results will be good. It’s terrible waiting for results isn’t it. Currently waiting for mine after scan done 10 days ago. Usually a months wait so a way to go. I’ve never had CEA markers done as my surgeon doesn’t believe they are reliable , maybe that’s just in my case. Whatever yours sound great at 1.7. Keep positive :x:


In my case the CEA markers were definitely a key element that something was not right in my body. Scans were showing nothing but my CEA markers were slowly increasing and my oncologist was saying something was not right, so he persevered with scans and it wasn't until he spent a couple of hours looking at my PET scan that he found a small growth on my rectal stump


Hi @AlanH , I’ve asked the same question, Geoff has cea bloods 6 monthly, and 2 year scan , which terrifies me that we are so reliant on the bloods ,
When I asked what Geoff’s levels were before the tumour was removed they said they didn’t know 😢
Good luck , glad you are doing well :x::x::x:


It's seems really haphazard isn't it that some hospitals or oncos or consultants test before and after CEA so at least you have half a chance of knowing it may be useful as a marker but some just don't or forget to which seems ridiculous when it is or can be such an important early marker .. should be national consistency .. wishing you good luck lots of love xxx Annie :x::x::x: