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  • Why isn't CAE used as a Diagnostic tool?

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    Old 05-21-2005, 05:17 PM   #1
    PlaDrv4Me
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    Why isn't CAE used as a Diagnostic tool?

    I used to tell people that would ask me if cancer can be found through bloodwork that the answer was most likely not, however last night I was digging around and found out that there ARE blood tests that can at least give some indication of cancer called "tumor markers".

    One of these ironically enough was the subject of Alison Hamilton's recent post (conrats on the hubby Alison), and thats CAE. Despite the risk of false positives, I have no earthly clue why at least the CAE test is not used more frequently. It frustrates me because over the past year of symptoms Ive had and the fact Im getting worse, plus the fact that Ive probably had blood drawn now at least 6 times maybe more, ordering a CAE would have been a simple enough thing to do.

    Is the reasoning that if the CAE is elevated to the point its of concern, the tumor would be advanced enough to be detectable by other methods or what?

    I might ask my GP if we can get one of these done, its not like its hard to do. At the very least it can be used to provide some peace of mind in a situation like mine where I cant eliminate ANY possibility because I just dont know.

     
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    Old 05-22-2005, 07:52 AM   #2
    tillyden
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    Re: Why isn't CAE used as a Diagnostic tool?

    I really don't know why they don't do CEA test more often as once you have cancer it becomes a routine test. When I ask my doctor for one some time ago, he blew it off, and said that it was not an indication. If only they had done that when they thought I had diverticalitis (sp) instead of waiting. After I was finally dx with colon cancer, and my sister being terrified of getting cancer, I insisted they do one on her for her peace of mind. He did and it was normal. She is terrified of a colonospy as she had one years ago before the gave you meds, and the tube was huge. You may have to get real insitant, but I would do this, if nothing else to help give you peace of mind, but if you are really worried have a colonospy and that will tell you if you have colon cancer. Best of luck.

     
    Old 05-22-2005, 08:00 AM   #3
    PlaDrv4Me
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    Re: Why isn't CAE used as a Diagnostic tool?

    Thanks for the reply, very good info indeed. Sorry to hear about your dx.

    My concern is that with all the symptoms Im having, that whatever it is, and wherever it originated from Im probably at a late stage already anyway, and this would certainly prove if that is the case. If not then I can sort of relax and try to attack whatever is going on from a different angle.

     
    Old 05-22-2005, 09:13 AM   #4
    ktee_uk
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    Re: Why isn't CAE used as a Diagnostic tool?

    Hi

    Husband's CEA was only slightly high/normal at diagnosis of stage 4. They did test his levels throughout his treatment but did not rely on them solely to tell them what was going on.

    CEAs vary from person to another I believe.

    regards
    ktee

     
    Old 05-22-2005, 09:46 AM   #5
    Nassau one
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    Re: Why isn't CAE used as a Diagnostic tool?

    There seem to be different opinions regarding the reliability of CEA tests. It certainly should not be used on its own to diagnose but is used in conjunction with scans and colonoscopy (I am only talking about colo/rectal cancer here). Once diagnosis has been made and if necessary treatment rendered, CEA tests are done at regular intervals to see if there is any indication of recurrence. But reports do say that almost one third of recurrences occur without any elevation of CEA. Of course follow up scans are also done but here they do not do those as often as CEA tests.

    What I found interesting is that when my husband's one-year post op CT scan showed spots on the liver but the CEA was normal, he had to have a PET scan which showed no malignancy. The surgeon said that he was not surprised, as the CEA was normal but just wanted to be sure. This indicated to me that he has faith in CEA tests!

    The best way of diagnosing colo/rectal cancer is colonoscopy.

     
    Old 05-22-2005, 01:40 PM   #6
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    Re: Why isn't CAE used as a Diagnostic tool?

    Alison IS correct... CEA tests do not always come back positive when there is cancer present, and therefore are not reliable markers for ALL patients with colorectal cancer. If only!! One test I am hearing more about (after dx via colonoscopy as Alison suggests) is the GCCB1 test. This test, as I understand it, is useful in determining recurrence, perhaps moreso than the CEA test. Keep in mind, those who smoke have elevated CEA's SOME of the time. So again, CEA tests may be useful as a diagnostic tool to track a patient's progress once diagnosed, but the BEST and ONLY acceptable way for diagnosis is a COLONOSCOPY.

    Regards to all,
    CancerDad

     
    Old 05-23-2005, 08:16 AM   #7
    pgta5
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    Re: Why isn't CAE used as a Diagnostic tool?

    I have also read that the CEA is most effective in diagnosising in conjunction with other tests. The ideal use of the CEA as a marker would be in the patient who's CEA was drawn prior to treatment/surgery and was elevated, then responded, or dropped after treatment or removal of the tumor.

    The last statistics that I read regarding CEA indicated that it is effective in indicating cancer in about 75-80% of patients.

    My father's CEA was not drawn prior to surgery but drawn about 6-7 days after and was normal. So, we do not know if CEA is an accurate diagnostic tool for him. It has been normal since.

    I agree...the best prevention/diagnositic tool is a colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy. My father was 65 at the time of diagnosis, stage 3c. He had had one sigmoidoscopy at the age of 55, with a history of bleeding/hemoroids. He had the same GP for over 10 years. No fecal occult blood test, no recommendation/referral for a scope. My dad instigated the colonoscopy and CT because he could "feel" that something was wrong. His GP told him it was probaby diverticulitis! Guess he was wrong.

    ~P

     
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