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Bowel cancer treatment

(continued)

Next steps/follow-up

Once your cancerous colon has been removed and you receive any other treatment recommended by your cancer care team, you will see your gastroenterologist or cancer specialist (oncologist) regularly for follow-up visits. These visits will allow your team to see if the cancer has spread and to detect newly formed cancers.

These follow-up visits may include the following:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Test for occult (hidden) blood

A screening tool - measurement of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level - is available to test for cancer recurrence following cancer surgery.

  • CEA is a protein normally found in trace amounts in your bloodstream but is present in increased amounts in people with colon cancer. It is referred to as a tumour marker.
  • Blood CEA levels should be measured before colon cancer surgery and then at regular intervals after surgery.
  • Increasing levels of serum CEA may indicate that colon cancer has come back and that you should have further evaluation.
  • Once you have had several blood tests with negative results, you may not need to continue the tests indefinitely.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on February 19, 2015

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