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question about cea

Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2011

i just had my 6th treatment of folfox and advistan my cea is still under 5 but apr 1.7 may 2.9 jun 2.2 this past sat 3.3 my blood work is good considering the liquid i'm putting in, go for pet/ct scan this sun just a little worried

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 1712
Joined: Jan 2013

I am sorry that you are worried aobut your CEA. It does seem to be fluctuating.  I asked my Oncologist during my treatment, why he didn't want me to get my CEA done, and he told me that the results aren't reliable. I only started getting it done after treatment. 

I know that Oncologists do things differently, and even though we have CRC, it can still be different, but if this helps you worry less, then I would be happy. 

Worry will always be there, but try not to worry too much. 

Keep us informed about your test results. Will be thinking of you. 

Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2011

thanks sue  the bad part was it was supposed to be taken monthly but the lab started weekly i finally got them back monthly hope that helps. i guess it wouldn't be as bad if the worry gene was put away for awhile. thanks john

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 1712
Joined: Jan 2013

Concentrate on staying as healthy as you can through your treatment. Remember, you are only half way through, there is more time for the meds to work on anything that 'might' be there. 

Imagine the chemo killing the bad cells. Release them with your breath. Release your anxiety with your breath. Look upward, and move onward. We're by your side. 


Posts: 361
Joined: Apr 2013

My husband recently switched cancer centers to a place where they have 4 GI cancer specialists.  His new doctor said CEA is only a good indicator about 50% of the time.  My husband's CEA actually went from 4 to 2 while in patient with a large tumor growing in his small intestines, so for him, it's not a good marker.  They take many things into consideration, scans most likely being the most effective tool.  Try not to worry too much.


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 4412
Joined: Feb 2009

That darn number always has people worrying.  It can be very unreliable even if you've had some type of infection.  But the rise should be watched carefully.  It can fluctuate by whole numbers.  Wishing you the best for the scan.


traci43's picture
Posts: 448
Joined: Jul 2007

Weekly checks of CEA really don't say much, from what I've been told.  Monthly will show better trends.  Remember that you are undergoing chemo so there could be some variation as the cancer cells die.  Others on this site have talked about rising CEA as the cancer cells die, then declining CEA after they pass through their system.  Hopefully changing back to monthly draws will help to calm things down.  Best of luck to you as you continue treatment.  Traci

Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2011

thank you everyone it's sure nice to know you can get some input from good friends, thanks again john

fatbob2010's picture
Posts: 462
Joined: May 2012

I have read many different descriptions of CEA and how our doctors use it in our treatment management.  Here is perhaps just one more spin.

CEA, as I have been told recently by my Onc, is a measure of growth activity, or potential activity.  He left me believing that as the tumor grows it produces CEA as a  by-product.  Not sure if this means a low number indicates slow to no growth or not.  In my case that seems to be a good call.  My CEA has fallen from 114 to under 5 with 4 cycles of the current treatment.  Scans seem to bear out a similar reduction in size of not only the liver but lung nodules as well.

All that being said, it seems that no matter how uncertain a marker.  No matter how it is used by our care team.  We are stuck with this as the current standard. One that has to abe tailored to each person individually.

Staying confident,



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