CEA Levels is up after 8 years

cagdas Member Posts: 1

Hello, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer 8 years ago at age 26 and went trough chemo and surgery. At the time my CEA levels was in normal range.

Unfortunetly i could not complete my Chemo and had to stop half of the way because of the serios reactions to chemo. I went my chekups first 2 years and luckly i was clean so stoped going until last year. (never do that, i was dumb)

My cea levels was 2.7 last year and CT scan was clean. But recent results came back 3.9. My doctor worried a bit and ordered colonoscopy and CT scan. Is there anyone who has a recururance after 8 years?


  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
    My understanding is that CEA

    My understanding is that CEA levels aren't that accurate and 3.9 is still really low. I could be wrong but someone else on here will have more information than me. My last one was 2.9 and before that it was 3.2 and they were happy with that one. If it's been a long time since your last colonoscopy the doctor will be concerned because of that but I don't think they panic unles the levels are in the teens or higher. Try not to worry.


  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,742 Member

    Labs of that aren't really reliable unless they go up significantly and are a good indicator of things previous.  Wait until you get a colonoscopy and/or scan and then rely on that much better.  Some doctors never take that test because they are so inaccurate.  Infections, smoking, changes in just a lab can make a difference.  You are still in the normal range, but I'd be scared too, it's just my nature.  Hoping that all is well - which I'm sure it will be.


  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
    You can never be free...

    of this disease. If you're NED then its still there, in your head, worrying you at every turn. 

    I am sorry that you have gone through this experience at such a young age, and sorry to hear of this scare. 

    Praying that your scans come back clear, and that this will help you realize that you need to keep up with those post treatment check-ups. 

    Good luck! And be sure to pop in and let us know your scan results. We love a good celetbration. 

    Sue - Trubrit

  • Maxiecat
    Maxiecat Member Posts: 544 Member
    My CEA has never been a

    My CEA has never been a really good indicator alone of any disease progression.  After I had finished 12 rounds of FOLFOX, my CEA started to rise to just above normal range.  My oncologist was a little concerned because it had always been low...it was .8 at diagnosis.  They looked at CEA combined with scans to try to figure out what was possibly going on with me...I had been experiencing fatigue and daily pain on my left flank.  I had Signet Ring - stage 3B that had gone to the lymph nodes... so my surgical oncologist suggested a diagnostic laparoscopy to see what if anything was going on with me...my scans had been a little suspicious.  They had suspected that I had potentially had some seeding of the cancer in the peritoneum ... when they went in they found nothing!  I was declared NED and my SRC has been clear ever since.  I have also had a clean colonoscopy and several clean scans.


    I think 3.9 is still withing the normal range - I have read that there are other things that can affect your CEA.  Hang in there...hopefully your colonoscopy and CT scan will come back with reassuring results.




  • Easyflip
    Easyflip Member Posts: 588 Member

    I was stage 3 and had a recurrence not in 8 years but in 8 months. I'm back to NED now. The odds of recurrence drop as time goes by and after 5 years it's pretty low. Chances are you're fine but you're doing the right thing to make sure. Your CEA still sounds pretty low to me. Keep us posted but I wouldn't worry too much. I hope to say "I told you it was nothing!" soon : )



  • tanstaafl
    tanstaafl Member Posts: 1,313 Member

    To answer the direct question, about a recur after ~8 years post original diagnosis?  Yes, we've had at least one friend like that.

    You should be aware that the CEA test's nominal upper thresholds vary with brand and smoking, 2.5 - 5, for single readings.  

    More sensitive and accurate blood test methods involve series measurements.  If I were concerned about CRC and wanted to know recoverable bad news soonest, an open question that remained, or NED more certainly, I would take my CEA test more frequently a few times, perhaps every 5-8 weeks if no rising trend, optionally along with CA19-9, LDH, AP, and ESR (and/or CRP, hsCRP). At one lab, preferably the same as my previous ones.  

    If I paid cash, I could collect 3-4 extra sets of such markers for ~$500 total (+ tax).  CA19-9 is a more challenging interpretation for less prepared doctors because it has more "noise" near typical CRC cases in the 23-35 range, where many CRC cases start, not "over 37" like pancreatic cancer, and often raises more questions for non CRC conditions, typically inflammation or pancreo-biliary. Most completely well people, without subclinical conditions or "benign diseases", are in the 0-22 range for some CA199 brands with a nominal 0-37 range.