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cea levels

littlejulie's picture
Posts: 311
Joined: Mar 2004

My mother had Stage 3 rectal cancer and had her sugery July 8th 2004. Since then her CEA levels have been on the rise...
August .7
September 1.3
October 2

She's recently had her cea checked but I'm not sure of the results. I left a message for the nurse to call me back. She is getting them checked again in May as part of the 3 month check up. And...I'm also curious to know what her CEA level was before surgery.

I'm really really worried. Should I be?

Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Julie,

You will get plenty of responses with this question and probably some debate. I know that doctors will say that anything under 3 is considered normal while others may say that a rising CEA level is something to watch. Mine has gone from 2.3 while on treatment to 1.6. I don't think 2 is anything to worry about but I will be curious to hear others' opinions. You are a wonderful daughter to stay so diligent.



Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Julie,
I have the same initial reaction as Kay: these numbers seem within normal limits to me. However, you are smart to be monitoring carefully and noticing the trend. I would try to check it out, with her medical team. But, in the mean time, try not to get too alarmed. Will she be having any other tests as part of her 3 month check up?

For me, my CEA wasn't elevated at diagnosis, so testing it regularly isn't very useful -- but I do it anyway!

Thinking of you.

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hiya Jules. I don't know what my level was when dx'd but the last 2 tests were 3 then up to 4. My doc. told me that for me they do not want the levels to go up any more. If it reaches 7 then they will need to look into things closer. I am not sure if these levels are on an international basis....maybe they are different here in oz. The other factor which makes them higher, or so I am told in my case is the fact that I still smoke. YEAH--I know...tsk!tsk!
I am due for ultrasounds on tuesday next so I guess for me the waiting begins again.
Our love to you both Julie, kanga n Jen

kerry's picture
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003


I found that a CEA in the area of -1 to 3 are relatively normal, but if your trend is on the rise, then you should be alert to changes. Just be aware.


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