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My Recent CEA

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6517
Joined: Feb 2009

My recent CEA shows two different numbers.  One line that is less than 0.5 and then a new recalculation below that says "New CEA" which is "a new method result for this tumor marker to allow rebaselining of patients" and that is 0.9, and anything below 5 is considered normal (same as before).  I've never seen this new calculation before so this must be a new way of testing.  Has anyone else seen this on their blood results?  I'm just used to getting the one result and this just threw me, but realize that they are always readjusting testing methods and numbers for different reasons. 

Kim

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 1090
Joined: Apr 2017

The revised calculation is new to me, but both your numbers look great, so congratulations are in order: Congratulations!

zx10guy
Posts: 266
Joined: Dec 2013

This may be that your lab switched from the Bayer/Siemens CEA assay to the Roche method.  I'm finding many labs are switching to/using the Roche method.  And for some reason that I don't know, the numbers obtained from the Roche test seem to be a bit higher than the Bayer/Siemens.  When I had my local hospital run my labs, they did the Bayer/Siemens and then switched to the Roche method.  The lab my current oncologist has used also employs the Roche method as I think the in house lab that he now has when he merged with a bigger practice.

You may want to ask the lab that ran your CEA test if this is the case.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6517
Joined: Feb 2009

I'm not sure what calculations that they used, but they gave me both numbers of the way they ran it, probably because most people are used to having it ran the original way, and then they are switching to the new method, so they don't scare anyone with the higher numbers.  What I'm finding concerning is that the max normal is the same on both the tests.  Usually when they calculate new testing methods the normal range changes and this one didn't.  Just made me a little nervous, but if you said it normally tests higher, that seems to correspond to the new methods.  Thanks for your explanation as it might be great information for newbies.

Kim

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5177
Joined: Jan 2013

I had to change labs, and even though I KNEW they used a different method and my result would be higher than 0.5, it still scared me seeing the higher number. It still played on my mind.  I did so love seeing that 0.5 and wish it would come back. 

The mind out Cancer patient, no matter many years NED we have been, can still be scared. Maybe that is good; and keeps us on our toes. 

Congratualtions on your NEDness. 

Tru

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6517
Joined: Feb 2009

Thanks Tru.  Sometimes you just wish they would leave "well enough alone."  At least they gave me both numbers, and that showed me that it was still the same, but I'm sure next time it will only be the one.

Kim

Tom M.
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2019

Way to go Kim. I have not seen any different readings in my CEA test. They still use the same method. Mine was 1.8 this week. I've been steady below 2.0 for some time now. Hopeing we all stay low.

zx10guy
Posts: 266
Joined: Dec 2013

Regardless, your numbers are still great no matter how they arive at them.

I'd love to have any of the numbers you all are reporting here.  I just had my 6 months follow up and my CEA is still out of whack.  Last reading was 44.4.  This one was 50.  This whole thing with me is just one long cruel joke.  I'm coming up on 8 years from my initial diagnosis and can't move on because this stupid blood test despite all my scans being clear.

Tom M.
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2019

I would like to think that the scans would tell you more than a blood test. Stay strong.

 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5177
Joined: Jan 2013

it is the opposite. 

My CT Scan came back clear, my CEA jumping.  I had a 2 cm liver tumour undetected by CT. 

It is wildly different between patients.  It must frustrate the Oncologist. 

Tru

zx10guy
Posts: 266
Joined: Dec 2013

Hi Tru,

So how did they find the tumor?

I've had multiple scans with different scan technologies.  CT w/contrast, PET, and MRI.  Nothing is showing up.  For me, this ordeal has been going on for 3 years.  It has only kicked into high gear the past year when my CEA jumped to a whole new level.  The previous two years my CEA was bounching between 11 and 20.  Then last year it jumped to 26 and then 28.6 and then 52.  This was the first time I heard concern in my oncologist's tone when he spoke with me.  But when all the scans came back clear, he just threw up his hands (figuratively).  He re-ran my CEA in December where it dropped to 44.4.  So he felt comfortable as it wasn't continuing to climb.  Now 6 months later, it climbs to 50.  But if you look at the last series of results, It's sort of hovering around that baseline.  I didn't meet with my oncologist this time but with the nurse practitioner.  She felt if the number was still high that my doc would order a scan.  I haven't heard from him since my appointment weeks ago.  I figure he's sort of ok of where things are.  I think he's at the point where additional radiation from all the scans would present other risks versus chasing this phantom down.  I've had so many scans over the almost 8 years, I'm surprised I don't glow in the dark.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5177
Joined: Jan 2013

My Oncologist ordered a PET Scan, and while it showed a much smaller tumour than what they found, at least it showed up. 

It would be terribly frustrating, and worrying to not be able to really know what was causing your high CEA scores. But, I presume you are doing well, regardless. May you stay well, and try not to fret too much.  As you know, for some, CEA is just not a good indicator of cell activity. 

Tru

zx10guy
Posts: 266
Joined: Dec 2013

Yes, I'm overall doing well I guess.  Other than a heart condition that was caught over a year ago.  I've coined the phrase, "I'm the healthiest looking sick person you'll ever meet."  Outwardly no one can tell I have had/still have all these medical issues.  My oncologist said that if this is cancer we should have seen something by now.  I don't have any other major issues that point to some issue that is cancer related.  Other than CEA, everything else with my blood work is normal.

I'm not really stressing about this anymore.  The first year, yes, I was a bag of stress.  Now being in this bizarro world for 3 years, it's just sitting in the background now.  It's just interesiting that for a person where CEA is not a good indicator it's usually reading low with cancer present.  I've only run into one published case of someone matching my situation where high CEA didn't mean there was cancer present.

Real Tar Heel
Posts: 80
Joined: Nov 2019

Hi

I was worried that I was in the same boat. Although my CEA wasn't high it was higher than it had ever been just after I'd finished FOLFOX, which was 4.1. The CT scan showed nothing. Now three months later my CEA has gone up to 9 and my Onc is sounding the alarm. It was never a good indicator before but I guess now it's reliable. PET scan in two weeks... Completely normal blood work.

Anyway, I'd read that CEA rise corresponds to inflammation in the organs. One study showed a correlation between that and inflammation caused by Oxilp, Non-Alcoholic FLD and insulin resistance. The last one hits me because my blood glucose blew up during FOLFOX (It's normal now).

Tom M.
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2019

That is interesting Tru. My CT scan shwed clean and one month later my CEA is 1.8 and my MRI showed a 2cm lesion on segment 8 of my liver. I am seeing the IR Ablation Doctor for it this Wensday.

zx10guy
Posts: 266
Joined: Dec 2013

Thanks.

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