Can you help me understand CEA numbers?

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Phil64
Phil64 Member Posts: 838 Member
On 5/11 I had a colon resection.

On 5/18 my CEA tested as 8.12.

On 6/1 I had a lung resection that removed a single tumor (metastisis of the colon cancer).

On 6/8 my CEA tested as 6.32

I beleive the normal CEA range is 0 to 3, so it appears my CEA is moving in the right direction; however, it seems like it is still far from a 3??? Also, I don't know if enough time has passed?

What can I make from these numbers?

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  • Sundanceh
    Sundanceh Member Posts: 4,392 Member
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    0-3 is the range for non-smokers.

    3-6 is the range for smokers.

    Your progression is moving downwards so that's always great news. Don't fret the numbers right now, Phil....use your CT scans as your best guide since they detect mass.

    If your numbers were off the chart, it might be different.

    Keep in mind all that you've recently gone through with your surgery...surgeries create inflammation and inflammation can lead to elevated CEA levels.

    When you're doing chemo, it's not uncommon to see numbers rise - as the dying cancer cells, emit a protein into the bloodstream that can temporarily cause a rise in those numbers.

    And CEA is not always reliable - and can even change...for me it was a good marker in my liver...when it went to my lungs, that theory went out the window. I had the lowest CEA ever and a huge tumor in my lungs.

    You need time, time and more time.

    Your numbers will swing back and forth...where they are now is not a reason to get too excited....once your body heals up some, those numbers will change again.

    You're only a month out of a colon resection - and ten 10 days off a lung resection.

    "Patience, Grasshopper."

    -Craig
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866 Member
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    CEA
    If I only had a dollar for every time I saw this question....
    CEA is one of marker used for tracking colon cancer. It can be somewhat reliable, it can also NOT be somewhat reliable.
    Trending lower, like yours is, is usually a very good sign but if you reach 3 that doesn't mean by any means that you are cured.
    Mine is 2.5, I have spots in my lungs, it's never been higher than 8.4.
    Some people have CEA in the 4 digit range...

    It varies SO much that unless you've been at this a long time and recognize trends that the numbers aren't totally reliable.
    But like I said, trending lower is better than trending higher
    -phil
    hope that helps
  • Phil64
    Phil64 Member Posts: 838 Member
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    PhillieG said:

    CEA
    If I only had a dollar for every time I saw this question....
    CEA is one of marker used for tracking colon cancer. It can be somewhat reliable, it can also NOT be somewhat reliable.
    Trending lower, like yours is, is usually a very good sign but if you reach 3 that doesn't mean by any means that you are cured.
    Mine is 2.5, I have spots in my lungs, it's never been higher than 8.4.
    Some people have CEA in the 4 digit range...

    It varies SO much that unless you've been at this a long time and recognize trends that the numbers aren't totally reliable.
    But like I said, trending lower is better than trending higher
    -phil
    hope that helps

    Phil and Craig,
    Thanks for

    Phil and Craig,

    Thanks for the info on the CEA. I won't worry about it for now.

    Have a wonderful night!

    Phil
  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,742 Member
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    Test
    The CEA test is not very reliable in everyone and a lot of doctors don't put much stock into the numbers anyway. There are too many factors that can raise it so if it goes up, don't worry until the doctor says too. Yours going down though is a good indication even though telling you not to look at them :) You've been through a lot lately so make sure you are taking care of yourself.

    Kim