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Question CEA levels

Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 2006


My husband was diagnosed July 06 with colorectal cancer. His CEA level in August 06 was 3.7. An MRI before surgery showed numerous enlarged lymph nodes and at a T3. After chemo/radiation his CEA was 2.5. He had surgery in Dec. 06 and pathology came out as T2 NO and no metastisis - pathology could not have been better. He had a CAT scan before first round of chemo and it came back NED. He started chemo. 4 weeks after surgery, he is on a 4 month regime having chemo for five days and then a 3 week break. After his first round of chemo. he had another CEA blood test which we just received the results of. It was 3.7? I was surprised and a little upset as I thought it would be lower than the 2.5 he had before surgery? What are you thoughts or experiences?

nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

CEA is just a marker, and a very indefinite one at that; word search CEA on this site, and you will wee what I mean..

katefm's picture
Posts: 112
Joined: Oct 2006

Hi Ginny-

You're in my prayers. About the CEA - I think you'd be stunned by how different everyone's CEA levels turn out to be. My husband started out at 159 and now he's at 86. Some of the people on this board were stage IV and never got above a 5.

Our oncologist's office constantly reminds us that the CEA is one teensy part of the puzzle, and not to get too hung up on the numbers. I know it's hard to do that, especially since we're such a results-oriented society. We just got our first disappointment with CEA levels a couple of weeks ago, but we have to remember that there are many factors that can make the CEA rise or fall.

Best of luck to you - I hope this helped a little bit.


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