I've been reading through recent threads about CEA increases people have experienced. I waited to say anything as I was waiting on going through the entire gamut of tests. I also felt it would be good to have my own thread dedicated to this.
If you do a search on here, a while ago I put up a thread which discussed my CEA jump experience. Here's a quick recap of my situation up till now. In June/July of 2016, I experienced a jump of CEA from my normal baseline of just over 5 to 9.7. A retest was done and it came back at 11. CT and PET were done which showed nothing. A colonoscopy caught a polyp in my appendix. After a right hemicololectomy, pathology came back as the polyp having cancer so I was officially stage 0 appendicial cancer. This was deemed a new primary from my first cancer diagnosis of colon cancer stage 3b. Two subsequent checkups showed my CEA to drop back down to 5.4.
In March of 2017, I went for another 3 month checkup and to our surprise my CEA jumped to 15.6. A retest to rule out lab error came back at 16.7. These tests were done: CT/w contrast, PET, MRI of small bowel/abdomen, upper GI endoscopy, small bowel capsule endoscopy, and colonoscopy. None of these found anything. Over the next couple of years my CEA bounced between 11 and 20. With CTs along the way showing clear. Last year in Oct, I went for another checkup and my CEA jumped from 17 to 26. My doc thought it was some issue with their new lab and just had me come back in 6 months for another checkup. April of this year, CT is again clear but my CEA is 28.6. My next checkup is scheduled for last month, October.
This is where things fell off the rails. I get my CT done and it comes back clear. I get my CEA done.....52.6. I'm in total shock. So is my doc. He orders a retest which comes back at 51.9. I forgot to mention I had a colonoscopy done in September which found 3 benign polyps. Here we go again. He orders an MRI of my abdomen with a focus on my liver. That comes back clear. So a PET/CT was ordered. I just had it done today. All clear. So not sure what is causing my CEA to be so high. But this will be coming up on 3 years since my CEA has been way above normal.
My doc thinks it may be due to all the recent stress I've been under. And there might be something to it. Around March 2017, I was really starting to have some severe marriage issues. In October of 2018, was a few months after my wife moved out and we were officially separated. I was also having visitation issues with our daughter. The recent spike was after about a year of now having officially filed for divorce along with litigation over child custody and then the actual divorce. So if this is all related, I really need to de-stress.
As a side note, last year I was diagnosed with a heart condition involving my aorta. Shortly after my separation, I developed high blood pressure.
So I go back to see my doc in December to do another CEA test to see where things are. By all accounts I should be symptomatic or have something pop up on any of the scans I've had. But so far I'm clear with only this blasted CEA being off. But it seems I may be able to declare myself 7 years NED next month from colon cancer. I have been 3 years NED from appendicial cancer.
If this holds up, I think some papers should be written up about me. So far I have found one person who has had a wilder CEA ride than me who went 5 years with her CEA above 60. I downloaded the medical journal paper on her case. I can provide a link to some online websites which has the medical paper published if anyone is interested.