CEA Blood Test

With my next scan only four weeks away, my anxiety is growing with each passing day. Thankfully, I can’t remember the last time I cried all day, so that’s a positive. I am trying to stay in the mind set that there is nothing I can really do to have the results I wish. The holidays were hard on my body. More alcohol than I have drank in the past three years combined, and enough sweets and salts to go along with it. But that was to be expected and I do not feel like I over indulged. I have to constantly remind myself that I have to quit the “blame game”. If my scan results are bad, that is not because I had a larger piece of pie for Christmas, or because I had two glasses of wine with dinner – there was nothing I could do to prevent it. I am starting to truly believe that. I am cleaning up my eating again because I was to stay consistently healthy for a longer period of time than just three month periods.

I’ve decided after this next scan to change up my follow up schedule. When most cancer patients enter the NED (no existing disease) stage, they all have roughly the same schedule. Two to three years having a CT scan and blood test every three months, the following two years it drops to every six, and at that beautiful five year mark it goes to once a year. This is because with each passing year, your chances of reoccurence technically lowers. Of course, every body is different, but overall this seems to be the case. I however would like to do things differently, as I always seem to do. With colon cancer a good indicator that something is changing is when your CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) levels in your blood are increasing. This isn’t a perfect way to tell if your cancer is back, but it is usually pretty accurate.

Just in case you have no idea what I am talking about – the CEA test measures the amount of a certain protein that may appear in the blood of some people who have certain kinds of cancers, especially cancer of the large intestine (colon and rectal cancer). A healthy person should have CEA level under 4. A smoker is typically under 6. In the late summer of 2015, after my lung surgery, my CEA level was 4. Fast forward to Spring of 2016, when my cancer was back in my liver and lungs, my CEA level was 44.

At my last check up in October my CEA level was 0.3. Yep – that was a shocker. So this month if my levels have increased a significant amount, then something very well could be going on inside. However if they remain very low, I will feel confident that I am on the right track. So I will switch things up and only get my blood taken in May. If that level is also low then my new CT scan and CEA test will be in July – at the six month mark. If my levels are raised in April then we will scan away. I figure I will save myself the stress, and the radiation, if I push it to the six month mark. I haven’t really been able to unwind and enjoy my life in the NED world because my scan is always looming in the back of my mind. So maybe having it every six months will help with that. I guess we will find out.

Fingers and toes crossed that this scan and blood test is clear!

4 thoughts on “CEA Blood Test

  1. Lori Willson January 2, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    Sending positive vibes your way. After 1 year of chemo, I have finally reached the stage where surgery will go ahead. I am scheduled for a scan tomorrow, my PVE on Jan 19th and the the liver/gallbladder surgery beginning of March. Colon surgery will follow sometime in late spring. I am scared as hell, but this has been the goal for the past year. My CEA started at 200 one year ago and is now 11.8! Best wishes for 2017!

    • Jamie January 2, 2017 / 9:28 pm

      Congrats on the surgery news! Liver surgery is hard and the recovery is even harder but with each day you will get stronger. While your body is recovering and trying to regrow your liver it is VERY normal to have a smaller appetite and a significant weight loss. All of your bodies energy and nutrients is going to help that organ grow and get stronger. The miracle of the human body! Stay strong and positive 👍 Please keep me updated and reach out if you have any questions!!

  2. Gi Endoscopy Practice March 11, 2017 / 8:29 am

    I hope that all your tests will clear this time. I am feeling motivated while reading your story that yes we can fight against different types of cancers, whether it is colon cancer, live cancer or lung cancer with positive attitude.

    Colon Cacer

    • Jamie March 12, 2017 / 7:36 pm

      Positive thinking plays a major role! Thanks for reaching out!

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