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Posts: 6
Joined: May 31, 2017

CEA levels

Posted by @diannechildress, May 31, 2017

I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2009. At that time they removed 1/3 of my colon. We did blood screening through the Mayo clinic and they came back that I had a predisposition for polyposis. The cancer had not gotten out of the colon area. Over the next 7 years I was having regular colonoscopies and the doctor removed polyps every time. He recommended that I have the reminder of my colon removed and attache the small intestine to the rectum. That surgery was done January 2016. Up until this surgery was done my CEA levels were in the 3-4 range. This past April I was in to my oncologist for my check-up and my level has increased to 6.1. We redid the test again in 6 weeks which was yesterday and they have increased by 0.3 to 6.4. I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem? I have had my mammogram done and it is clear, I don’t have any more colon so it can’t be colon cancer, I had a hysterectomy when I was in my 20’s so that rules out ovarian cancer. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Has anyone had a cea count of 5.7 after 5 year check up

Hi @bobbywood427 @revcindy @sockwelljames,

I wanted to let you know that I moved both your messages about CEA levels to this existing discussion so that you can meet other Connect members who are discussing the same. If you click VIEW & REPLY in the email notification, you can read through the past messages and post any questions you may have.

I’m also tagging @diannechildress @martid @ilene1 @soul @brglight @nannytart @bush @sallyg @starrlight and @joannem – a few other members who may also have experience with fluctuating CEA levels. @revcindy, I’ve copied some member insights about CEA levels from this very conversation…I hope this will help ease your worries. Here’s what Connect members are saying:

– The American Association for Clinical Chemistry. states “Increased CEA levels can indicate some non-cancer-related conditions, such as inflammation, cirrhosis, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, rectal polyps, emphysema, and benign breast disease.”
@travelgirl: "I was told they check the CEA as a marker but it really is not a good indicator of cancer.”
@sallyg: "This number makes me very nervous but it is really only another tool and I have found other things can cause it to rise like a dental infection or even a sinus infection so I try my best not to get too anxious when there is a spike upwards.”
@diannechildress: "The results of my CT scan were good. There was nothing to indicate the rise in CEA levels…"

Well my mom had colon cancer. It was only in her liver at the time of diagnosis. Her cea at the tine was 41. Her oncologist didn't repeat her cea for two months after that but then it was 17. We didn't want to happy only on cea report but her pet scan was also negative n lesions were disappearing.

Her cea started to rise gradually. We asked around alot n everyone was of the opinion that cea is not a good marker of cancer progression or mets etc. But that was not right in my mom's case. The doctors missed two new lesions that had formed one time. The second time, they let her have surgery saying there's nothing new on the scan to worry about cea and it turned out to be peritoneal metastasis.

I have personally stopped trusting doctors about these things but i do trust my friends who have themselves or one of their family members have been through this. What I've seen is that cea as a cancer marker is not reliable in everyone. But you should look at its trends throughout your cancer journey. If it has always elevated in reponse to disease progression and decreased with treatment then its a good marker for you and can be of alot of help.

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