Slightly elevated CEA

Posted by spedteacher @spedteacher, Jul 18, 2021

Hello, I am new to this group. Back in 2009, I had stage 3 melanoma with a 2% penetration into one lymph node. Had a lymphedectomy(?) to remove more and search for cancer. All negative. Fast forward to now. … I continue to visit my dermatologist every 4-6 months, no additional melanoma has been found.in 11 years. I recently had a blood test for a life insurance company to see if I would qualify for coverage. I also had routine colonoscopies when I turned 50(completely clear) and 60( removed benign polups. I am 62. My CEA number from the recent blood test showed my CEA to be 4.9(which the company puts an average range of 0.2.5 or up to 3.0. I am very scared that I may have cancer somewhere in my body I am not aware of. All of my other blood and urine numbers came out within a normal range. I feel fine, exercising, not losing weight……….I made an appointment to see my GP this coming week to share these results. What questions or next steps would be reasonable to ask her? I am scared that a "wait and see" approach and re-test might show a skyrocketing increase in the number and that I should have done something when the number was only "slightly elevated". Thoughts? I am aware(via reading others' posts that in the scheme of things, my CEA number is not a huge "red flag or alarm" but it is to me.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Colorectal Cancer group.

This must be very scary. As you are I’d be very concerned and trying my best to determine why the CEA levels are raised. My CEA levels were within normal ranges but it turned out I have stage III rectal cancer so it doesn’t always match up.
I wish you all the best and negative cancer findings!

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Hello @spedteacher,

Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I can certainly understand your concern about the increase in the CEA number. I understand completely that when you have had cancer once it is hard to not think that it will reoccur. You tend to wait for the "other shoe to drop."

I would like to invite @gingerw to this discussion. She also has melanoma and perhaps she can offer some suggestions.

It sounds like you are feeling good otherwise, but your concern is about the increase in the CEA numbers. Is that right?

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@hopeful33250

Hello @spedteacher,

Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I can certainly understand your concern about the increase in the CEA number. I understand completely that when you have had cancer once it is hard to not think that it will reoccur. You tend to wait for the "other shoe to drop."

I would like to invite @gingerw to this discussion. She also has melanoma and perhaps she can offer some suggestions.

It sounds like you are feeling good otherwise, but your concern is about the increase in the CEA numbers. Is that right?

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@spedteacher At the request of @hopeful33250 I am responding to you. I had melanoma on my right forearm, which resulted in a surgery leaving a 32 stitch scar.

From medline.com, here is an article about CEA and when it may be useful https://www.healthline.com/health/cea
It does mention about smoking being a factor to raise a CEA level. Does that fit in you case?

As far as questions to ask your dr, I might ask if the test should be done again. That would be a simple first step. The anxiety and concern you have should also be conveyed, especially if you have been a patient of this dr for a while.

Will you come back and let me know how your appt goes, and how you are doing?
Ginger

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Hello Ginger,
Thank you for your kind words. I did read the article you mentioned above. I am going to see my GP in an hour. I am sure we will just be coming up with a plan of some sort. Thank you and I will let you know when I have some news to share.

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@gingerw

@spedteacher At the request of @hopeful33250 I am responding to you. I had melanoma on my right forearm, which resulted in a surgery leaving a 32 stitch scar.

From medline.com, here is an article about CEA and when it may be useful https://www.healthline.com/health/cea
It does mention about smoking being a factor to raise a CEA level. Does that fit in you case?

As far as questions to ask your dr, I might ask if the test should be done again. That would be a simple first step. The anxiety and concern you have should also be conveyed, especially if you have been a patient of this dr for a while.

Will you come back and let me know how your appt goes, and how you are doing?
Ginger

Jump to this post

Hello Ginger,
Next steps involve my doctor is consulting with their GI doctor and oncologist . She will get back to me with what information was shared. Probably not until next week bc my doctor will be out of the office the rest of the week. Taking baby steps as I continue to monitor my health, which, seems to be just fine. And no, I am not a smoker.
~Ellen

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