Get your Health question answered in 3 easy steps
A Doctor will be with you shortly
Ask a Doctor Now
190 Doctors are Online

Is increase in CEA level a matter of concern?

User rating for this question
Very Good
Answered by

Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1981
Answered : 824 Questions
Question
Is a cea rise fron 3 to 6 in three months worrying in a person who had bowel cancer surgery?
Posted Sun, 17 Aug 2014 in Colon Cancer
 
 
Answered by Dr. Karen Steinberg 53 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Doubling of CEA levels suggests cancer return

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thank you for using Healthcare Magic. Yes, I am sorry to say, a doubling of CEA levels from 3 to 6 is worrisome. The CEA level is followed in persons who had bowel cancer to monitor for return or spread of the cancer. The doctor will likely do more testing (including imaging studies) to see where more cancer might be located. Chemotherapy may be necessary.

Hope this answers your query. If you have further questions, I would be happy to answer them.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is increase in CEA level a matter of concern? 6 hours later
Thank you.

So a scan should def be done? We are v anniyed that my fathers oncologist, is focusing on the number ( he keeps saying numb is not high). But i dont understand why he is ignoring that each month a rise is taking place.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Karen Steinberg 12 hours later
Brief Answer:
May be too early for a scan

Detailed Answer:
I did some further research on CEA monitoring in colon cancer. I am presuming that his initial level was high and returned to normal after the surgery, and then started rising again.

CEA is used for monitoring response to therapy and for a recurrence. If it was not high to begin with, then it cannot be accurately used for monitoring. The particular tumor your father has would not be producing the CEA, and the levels are related to something else (smoking, liver problem, etc). CEA is not used for diagnosis.

The increase is indeed worrisome if the presumptions are correct. However, the levels are not very high. What this means is that there is not enough tumor present to be picked up on a scan. The increases could still be due to something else, so a scan will not be helpful right now. The oncologist is likely waiting to see if the CEA goes to a level where the tumor can be detected on a scan.

Metastases would be showing a very high level (upwards of 20), so this is less likely to be the case.

Please talk to the oncologist and ask him your questions. Tell him your concerns. You can ask about the details we have discussed here. Ask him at what level he thinks further testing should be done and why. Open communication with the oncologist would be helpful for all of you in dealing with this frightening condition.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is increase in CEA level a matter of concern? 12 minutes later
He is a smoker yes but prior to surgery his cea was never measured so
We dont know what it was . Its just that bit by bit ir keeps going up. He was a dukes c1. He is on xeloda for 6 months
 
 
Answered by Dr. Karen Steinberg 47 minutes later
Brief Answer:
CEA in this case not accurate for monitoring

Detailed Answer:
If the CEA had not been measured prior to the surgery, then we don't know what the level was and can't say that your father's particular tumor is producing it. Measuring it now is using it for diagnosis, not monitoring. CEA is not accurate for diagnosing colon cancer. The small changes you are seeing now can be due to a variety of conditions unrelated to the cancer .

Dukes C1 means lymph nodes were involved. Once lymph nodes are affected, the tumor can start metastasizing. The Xeloda is being used to treat that. The prognosis for this stage is poor. The CEA changes do not provide any additional information at this time to alter therapy.

Talk to your oncologist about your concerns. He knows best why he is following this course and you have a right to have it explained so you understand.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions
Treatment/Therapy
Medical Procedures
Medical Topics

The user accepted the expert's answer

Ask an Oncologist

© Ebix, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All the information, content and live chat provided on the site is intended to be for informational purposes only, and not a substitute for professional or medical advice. You should always speak with your doctor before you follow anything that you read on this website. Any health question asked on this site will be visible to the people who browse this site. Hence, the user assumes the responsibility not to divulge any personally identifiable information in the question. Use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions
Already Rated.
Your rating:

Ask a Doctor