I am finishing up my chemo with 2 more treatments. It appears I am responding positively to treatment so far. I know that the CEA test is not an exact science and that not all tumors produce CEA. With that being said... I have continually seen my CEA go down for many months. A couple of times it has gone up a couple points but each time I had some kind of infection and it immediately went down when the infection was gone. Each time they run a CEA it has been going down between 3-5 points after each treatment. It is currently 10.5 but has been as high as 758 before treatment and surgery. So here are my questions:
1) If I get to the "normal" CEA range 0-5 does that mean I'm as likely to get get cancer again as any other person?
2) I've asked my doctor this but to me this doesn't make sense (maybe I'm just too logical in thinking). Because the CEA is lowering it seems obvious that the chemo is killing the cancer in the blood. The doctor has stated once we get to 14 treatments we stop and I understand your body can only tolerate so much chemo because after all it is poison. If my CEA is still lowering why not continue until it stops after all it is still killing cancer cells?
3) If different types of chemo attacks the cancer in different ways and it's important to kill the cancer cells as soon as possible to prevent the cells from further mutating and becoming resistant to chemo then why not attack the cancer with all the different types of chemo? My doctor's initial treatments was 5-FU, lucovorin, oxaliplatin. However, due to the side effects of oxaliplatin and partially *my* decision to attack the cancer cells with something else as it appeared we were steady with the CEA on that treatment we switched to irinotecan. Since then my CEA was been dropped at a steady pace. So why isn't the recommended guidelines for treating cancer for Stage 3c cancer?
Sorry for the lengthy post