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vinny3's picture
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

Recap: Had the rise in CEA a month ago to 3.5 from previous level of 1. Pet scan negative. Did not want to wait 3 months to check again so had it drawn now and it has come back down to 0.6. I'm estatic. However, I wanted to pass along some information obtained from the book in our lab about CEA. I apologize for it being lengthy but it may be helpful for others who have the same scare in changing CEA levels.

" CEA results should not be interpreted as absolute evidence for the presence or absence of malignant disease but should be used in conjunction with information from other test procedures and from clinical evaluations of the patient tested. CEA levels are elevated in smokers; patients with inflammation including infection, inflammatory bowel disease, and pancreatitis; some patients with hypothyroidism; cirrhosis; and in some patients with noncolorectal neoplasms especially gastric, pancreatic, breast, and ovarian. CEA is not a screening test for occult cancer. Many negatives occur in patients with early carcinoma. HEPATOTOXICITY OF ANTINEOPLASTIC DRUGS, AS WELL AS TUMOR CELL NECROSIS OR MEMBRANE DAMAGE MAY CAUSE AN ELEVATION ( my emphasis since this has frequently been a question here). Radiation therapy may also induce a transient rise in CEA. CEA is more sensitive to recurrence of colonic than rectal primaries. Benign diseases do not usually cause CEA levels > 5-10 ng/ml....... A progressive rise in CEA may signal recurrence long before clinical evidence of metastases. "

Hope this information is helpful to someone else. If one notes a rise in the CEA I would recommend pressing for a recheck of that test in a month.


shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi Dick,
Thanks for the post. I just had some good news too, drum roll....after 3 years my CEA is still less than 0.5! Yea! It has been a good indicator for me so I can really relate to how you must have felt through that "scare". I probably would have had a heart attack! But, it is good to know that these reasons for a fluctuation exist. I am sure it will help many folks facing a similar "trick" (instead of a treat!).
Take care,
Susan H.

Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

I am so glad you pushed to get the CEA test, waiting is for the birds. So glad it was good. I have been praying for you. The info about the CEA was good, I think I had read something similar because I knew that the CEA level did not always mean you had cancer.

Your friend, Robin

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Thanks for the info, Dick...I have always had a low CEA...even with stage III raging. I always wondered why...

Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Congratulations on that excellent news, Dick. Hoorah and phew!! And thanks for sending along the info on CEA -- most informative.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Congratulations on that excellent news, Dick. Hoorah and phew!! And thanks for sending along the info on CEA -- most informative.

kristasplace's picture
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

Very informative! I just had mine redone Thursday, and i will be sure to ask for more tests if it is higher than the original test of 5. I'm still confused about how someone can have a number in the hundreds when 5 is considered high. I need to remember to ask my doctor about that.

Happy Halloween!

betina61's picture
Posts: 644
Joined: Aug 2006

What a relief Dick!! I am very happy for you

Monicaemilia's picture
Posts: 455
Joined: Nov 2006

Great news Dick!!!! And thanks so much for the info. Monica

Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

wonderful news Dick. That's terrific. Thanks for sharing the info with us on CEA. Keep the faith
God Bless,


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