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How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

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Old 06-19-2006, 08:19 AM   #1
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How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

I saw my oc doc for the second time last week. I asked him if at the half way point in my chemo treatments if I would get a CT scan or Pet Scan. He said no. I would get a CEA test. He said a CT scan would be done about a year. I guess a year from diagnosis. This seems like a long time to me. What do your doctors recommend? There is still so much to learn about colon cancer. (I was diagnose in March, operation in Apr, chemo started in May). If any of you can recommend sites for me to read up on CEA levels, I surely would appreciate it. I need all the info I can get....
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:10 AM   #2
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

Hi. I was diagnosed in March, also. I know that I had a CEA test then, and at my last chemo session, they drew blood for another CEA. Don't know what the results are yet, but I am a little anxious about it. I have 7 chemo treatments behind me, 18 more to go. I did ask my oncologist at my last visit with him, how do we know if the chemo is working?.....his answer was "we don't know" I didn't like that answer!!


Old 06-19-2006, 10:05 AM   #3
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

It seems different professionals do testing at different stages of treatment. My husband had one scan during treatment but that was only because he had a blockage. Had it not been for that, he would have had his first post treatment scan a year after dx. Similarly, his first post treatment CEA levels test was done a year after dx. This makes sense as CEA levels can go haywire during chemo sometimes and give unnecessary concern to the patient. We do not have a PET scanner here so that is only done if the CT scan shows up something that needs further investigation.

CEA levels are only useful as a post treatment monitoring tool and are usually used in conjunction with a scan. My husband's CEA started rising very slightly at every testing (every 3 months) but the last one was lower than any he had done previously. He only has scans once a year.

I wish you the best with the remainder of your treatment and test results at the end of that time. It is always a nerve wracking time when waiting for test results but great when you get good ones!

Old 06-19-2006, 10:47 AM   #4
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

Hello all

Like Alison says, it does vary from doc to doc and also depends at what point you had your first one, if any. My husband was diag without a CT scan and he had his (i think) before he started his chemo. He then had to have another one so they could see whether the tumors had shrunk on his liver so they could operate on that. He then had another scan prior to his first follow up with liver surgeon so they could take a clearer look at all his connections. His liver surgeon now looks at ultrasound scans. He now has a CT scan once per year for another 2 years and after that he is on his own and his oncologist and colo-rectal surgeon review this.

I think I made that sound far too complicated but it would be wise to prod your docs a bit more to double check.

Good luck

Old 06-19-2006, 08:15 PM   #5
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

I am posted overseas in Germany. Here thye told my wife she will get quarterly CT scans and CEA tests for the first 3 years. In years 4 and 5 it will be semi annual. Each year for first three years also will have a colonoscopy. They told us they want to catch things as early as possible. She was diagnosed with Dukes C and just complete her 5th Folfox treatment. She also had a CT right before her first Chemo. They wanted a basis for comparison.

Seems to me the Dr. may want to do a little more, especially in the first year. I do know that when we were trying to decide on going back to the states, one of the things we looked at was how often followup was done in the States vs. where we were living. Followup in Germany is really more consistent.

Old 06-20-2006, 07:49 AM   #6
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

The first year my husband didn't have a scan until after his surgery and 3 chemo treatments. He then had a pet and ct scan combination. He had liver surgery 4 months after his colon surgery and then did not have a scan for 6 months and then again 6 months later. He now has them every three months. The first oncologist was the one who did the scans every 6 months and this new one is wanting the every three months. He likes to see what is going on. So it does seem like it depends on the doctor and how he likes to do things.
Good luck with the rest of your treatments, keep good thoughts and be good to yourself.

Old 06-22-2006, 09:47 AM   #7
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

I've had 3 ct scans this year so far, I was dx in Feb. I have had one pet scan. I am going to request a CEA level every three months, and biannual ct scans, and 1 petscan annually, as well as a scope annually, they can't do a colonscopy on me because of my total colectomy.

I feel petscans are the best way to go, in terms of colon, the CT scan doesn't show much because it's on the inside, hence the colonscopy. My cancer never showed up on the CT scans but it did on the Pet. This is what I feel comfortable with and with 5 people in my family already passing from this, I don't feel it's an unreasonable request.

GL and keep a chart for yourself, I have one for me.

Old 06-22-2006, 07:40 PM   #8
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

I was diagnosed Feb this year and had surgery March 1. No chemo or radiation but my 3 month followups are: Flex sigmoid scope, CEA's (which never were elevated) and scans. I've had so far 1 CT and 1 PET. My next is another PET. I have copy's of the CT film and got my PET on a disk. Theirs no question the PET show much more and if you can you should get one just to make sure all is clear. Has anyone had a C-reactive protein check? I'm going to request this also next time. God Bless


Old 06-24-2006, 05:20 AM   #9
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

This is a great question. My doc wants to do a chest, abdomen and pelvic CT scan the week before my reversal (two weeks post chemo). I have not had a scan since just before my last surgery - I think that was October. My CEA levels were never high, even with an "active" tumor in my rectum. I have never had a PET scan - should I push for one? My staging was never really certain because I had chemo and radiation BEFORE my surgery, so we don't know if I had positive nodes or not. I do know that I had a "poorly differentiated" adenocarcinoma, which I know is not good. Now you have me wondering if I should push for the PET scan...hmmmm...

Take care,

Old 06-24-2006, 10:22 AM   #10
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

Larry, called his Mayo Clinic oncologist, and asked her about having a pet scan done. (he never had one done before) She is trying to fit it into his schedule the week of his reversal surgury. When he was first diagnosed I had never heard of pet scans and then found out that insurance companies reguire preapproval to cover them. Maybe the insurance Carriers are starting to realize that finding cancer early is less expensive down the line than treating cancer in later stages ???

Old 06-27-2006, 08:28 PM   #11
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Re: How Often Do You Get CT SCans, PET, CEA Levels Checked?

My husband has CEA checked every three months with a physical & a CT every year. He was dx'd 2.5 years ago & staged between 3 & 4. They removed his spleen and part of the pancreas.

It sounds like every doc is different and I'm sure it depends on the initial diagnosis. My husband had a terrible time, got a MRSA infection after his surgery so chemo had to wait several months. Horribly sick from chemo landed him back in the hospital after 3 months (half way through chemo). Got a hernia from vomiting (ripped his stitches out) so was back in the hospital a year later to have that repaired.

His next CT & CEA is due next month. Very stressful time for both of us. His aunt had colon CA with mets to the stomach & she is doing fine (83 years old) so we pray for a similar outcome.

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