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ct and cea

rick shiver
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2015

got my CT scan results and states that there is "no evidence of metastatic disease".  cea test result is 3.7.  what does that CEA test level mean?  what should I expect from here on out?


NewHere's picture
Posts: 1205
Joined: Feb 2015

It looks like you are posting part of the report maybe?  Did you get something that said you had a tumor and this part "no evidence of metastatic disease" is included?  Could mean that it has not spread from the initial site, that is what it looks like.  Ask your doctor about it to be sure, different places have different ways of saying things..  My CT scan mentioned lymph nodes lit up and also possible things elsewhere (before my surgery), so it sounds like you have a better one?  Fingers crossed for you.  (Was this the report from the scope in the other thread?)

CEA is a marker that is an indication of CRC.  Though people go back and forth on the value, 3.7 may not be that high a number if you smoke tabacco or pot.  There are also other things that affect CEA.  (Some people seem to be lock-step with CEA results.)  Mine was about 8 before surgery, dropped down to under 2 after surgery and has recently gone back up to about 6.9 (three months after surgery).  The Onc said this sometimes happens on chemo where CEA will bounce.  My next scan will tell me more.

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

The result means that your CEA 3.7. CEA really isn't the best barometer for how you are doing. While you certainly do NOT want to see your CEA to be in the triple digits, many things can affect that number like having a slight cold. CEA under 5 is considered normal but many people, including myself, have had their CEA be at 3.7 or lower and things were not normal at all. This doesn't mean that you're not normal. See what I mean?

My Oncologist isn't that keen on having her patients know the CEA number because it's really not accurate as to what's going on. 

Personally I have never been one to read my CT scan reports. I'm not a radiologist or an oncologist and there's terminology in the reports that I do not fully understand so I always wait to go over the report with my Onc and if there's a change, we compare the actual scans so I can get a visual idea of what is going on (or not going on). That's what I found works the best for me.

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5217
Joined: Jan 2013

My Rad Onc sat down with me in front of the computer and showed me my CT scan, pointing to this and that, and I understood very little even then.  I will continue to let the radiologist do their work and I'll do mine. 

I am hoping my CEA is a good marker, because its .5 and I like the sound of that. 

I know others here though, whose CEA is up and down and all over the place, so until you know that it is a fairly reliable indicator, then just take it with a pinch of salt. 

3.7 is in range if you are a smoker. My Onc was not happy until I reached 1.5, which just goes to show you that even the professionals have differeing takes on numbers. 

Good luck

NewHere's picture
Posts: 1205
Joined: Feb 2015

I checked my CEA and talked to my Onc yesterday.

Before surgey it was 8.5 for me, about a month after surgery 3.9.  End of May 6.8 and yesterday 7.1

Onc said often chemo itself can cause CEA changes and he is not too concerned with mine based on the actual scans and so far he is happy with the scans.

DD3's picture
Posts: 134
Joined: May 2013

seems to be a very contriversial topic among patients and even providers.  Probably not a good marker for my wife.  Her's was 4.9 with full blown CRC going on.  It's down to anywhere from 1.5 - 2.9 range since after treatment.  Spiked one time to 4.0 on a post treatment test.  So, she doesn't put allot of faith in her "numbers."  However, there are some on here that CEA seems to be a good marker. 

As far as reading scans... Yes, our surgeon shows us the scans and reads what the say and even trasnslates it to english for me.  Tongue Out 

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