I had Stage II rectal cancer diagnosed last May 2011. Chemo/radiation for 6 weeks, then surgery, then 5 months of chemo finished March 4, 2012. At the time of my diagnosis last May, my CEA level was 4.7. It has stayed in that area and never higher than 5.5 since last May. Now all of a sudden my CEA level was 10.7 this week. How concerned should I be?
As posted below, "normal" CEA levels can range up to 2.5-3.5 ng/ml, so you are barely above baseline. I think CEA can rise a bit during chemo treatments, but your levels are so low that the small differences you are seeing probably don't mean anything.
For those who have CEA levels higher than 5.0 mcg/l, the test is usually indicative of cancer. However, in some cases, people may have higher levels of CEA without having cancers in their body. CEA levels that are around 20 mcg/l or higher, may be indicative of severe cancers that have metastasized.
Healthy persons seldom have levels above 10 ng/mL. CEA concentrations are twice as high in smokers; female smokers have a median CEA level of 4.9 ug/L and male smokers have a median level of 6.2 ug/L. CEA levels are not elevated in maternal serum during pregnancy, since CEA does not cross the placenta.
it a The level of CEA in the blood does not accurately reflect tumour size, however on initial testing, patients with smaller and early-stage tumours are likely to have low, if not normal, CEA levels, while patients with more advanced tumours, or tumours that have spread throughout the body, are likely to have initially high CEA levels.
[cancer] CEA levels are up, this is (probably) very bad news. Got this email from my oncologist yesterday, excerpted and edit slightly for clarity: Your CEA is up slightly to 4.6. I think we should get a CT scan the week of Nov 19th to see what is going on. This is not good news, and is probably very bad news.
Biologically CEA is not a marker that can be used for populations but for some individuals there is a relationship between CEA levels and cancer expression. CEA levels rise with pregnancy and estrogen levels and smoking. It may work for you, mine went to 17 (stage 4) but drops to below 1 right now so there is a possible relationship in my case.
One way they can do that is with a carcinoembryonic antigen test. It measures a protein called CEA in the blood . People with some types of cancers have higher than normal levels of this substance.
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a protein that is present in certain tissues of a developing baby (fetus). By the time a baby is born, it drops to a very low level. In adults, CEA is normally present at very low levels in the blood but may be elevated with certain types of cancer.This test measures the amount of CEA in the blood to help evaluate individuals diagnosed with cancer.
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is used as a tumor marker. An elevated or rising CEA level indicates cancer progression or recurrence. Read on to learn about the meaning of different CEA blood ranges, the CEA test, and how to know what a healthy blood test range is for CEA.