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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Does CEA level slightly above the normal range an indicator of rectal cancer not been cleared yet?

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Dr. Monish De

Oncologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1802 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 27 Sep 2018 in Cancer
Question: Hi my mum had rectal cancer that went into her lymph nodes. Mum was treated with chemoradiation and had a complete response. Mum finished all treatment about 4 months ago. Mum has had a Sigmoidoscopy since which has shown mum is still clear with everything. Mum has recently had a CEA blood test and it is 4 this is slightly higher than the normal range. Normal range they say is 0-3. I am worried this means mum is not clear of cancer. Can you help me please?
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Answered by Dr. Monish De 27 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Right now your mum is clear of rectal cancer.

Detailed Answer:

Hi

After going through your mums history I would say normal CEA level is less than or equal to 3 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Most healthy people have levels below this amount.

CEA levels will generally return to normal between one and four months after the cancer has been successfully removed.

Since your mothers is 4 there is nothing to worry.

I would advise you to do a CEA test after 3 months.

If it goes on increasing and is more than 20 ng/mL then there is a sign of rectal cancer returning and I would advise you to do a sigmoidoscopy test and CT scan of whole abdomen.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any more queries I will be glad to help.

Regards,

Dr. Monish De
Oncologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Monish De 5 minutes later
so you really think mum is ok and need not worry
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Answered by Dr. Monish De 14 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Your mom is absolutely okay of rectal cancer.

Detailed Answer:

Hi!

Your mom is absolutely okay of rectal cancer.

CEA level of 4 can be due to other causes such as infection, chronic smoking and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

As long it is less than 10 you do not need to worry.

Hope this answer is helpful.

Regards,

Dr Monish De
Oncologist

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
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