CEA goes from 57 to 125 for my mom?


My mother was diagnosed stage 3 colon cancer in September.  One lymph node involved.  CT scan of abdomen was clear.  Her CEA prior to the surgery was 57 (Normal on the test is 4 and under)Frown  After the surgery and 2 rounds of chemo (5FU and something else--it is infused over a few days--sorry I can't remember) her CEA is 125!  Her oncologist is ordering a PET scan.  I'm scared the high level means something could be in her lungs or elsewhere.  I'm just so freaked out because her CEA levels are higher than those posted by others on this board. Why would they be so high to begin with and then get higher after surgery and 2 rounds of chemo?


  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
    Hello and welcome to the forum

    I am sorry that your mum has been diagnosed with Cancer, but here you are, a good daughter, looking for help. Your mother is a very lucky lady to have such a caring child.

    Every Oncologist seems to be different, and I am going to tell you what my expereince with my Oncologist was, just to give you an idea. Now, I am not going to say that he is right or wrong, its just some information to help you along the way. 

    When I was going through chemo (FOLFOX 5FU) I did ask why he was not doing a CEA test on me. He told me that the CEA is not a reliable marker during chemo, as the medication messes with your system. So, no CEA until it was all over. 

    Now obviously, your mum's Onc does so a CEA during treatment, so he must think that it is reliable. 

    A PET scan should give you the information that you need, but until then, try and think that this 'may' just be her body reacting to the Chemo. 

    I too was Stage III with one lymp node out of 21.  

    Sue - Trubrit

  • thxmiker
    thxmiker Member Posts: 1,278 Member
    My CEA always climbed while I

    My CEA always climbed while I was on Chemo.  Do not get to worried.  At the high my CEA was 1125, and then I finished Chemo and a month later my CEA was 2.4.


    Best Always,   mike

  • LindaK.
    LindaK. Member Posts: 506 Member

    was never  good indicator for my husband.  His numbers dropped to below 10 while an aggressive tumor was growing in his intestines.  Onc. said it is only a good indicator about 50% of the time.  They take into account with all the other things they check.  Don't worry too much until the other tests are done.


  • kittersue
    kittersue Member Posts: 3
    Thank you all!

    It's reassuring to hear that the CEA might not mean a whole lot in the big scheme of things.  Hopefully her PET scan will be clear next week.  I am so thankful to all of you!

  • MrsCollazo
    MrsCollazo Member Posts: 6
    Enlightening-CEA Elevation

    My husband was diagnosed 12/2013 with stage III colon cancer... After surgery to remove the tumor we completed seven rounds of chemo... Before his surgury we were told his CEA level was 9 and then after chemo (07/2014) it was down to 2.2 but now we just got the test results and it has elevated to 74 (12/2014)...  I'm currently at the hospital awaiting him to complete the PET test...  Thank you for your experiences, updates and advice regarding CEA's and awaiting additional tests...  Does anyone have any experiences with CEA test elevating when it NOT related to cancer??  What other factors can contribute to the elevation??  Thank you and good luck to all with this fight we have ahead of us!