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What does elevated CEA level indicate?

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Posted on Fri, 18 Jul 2014
Question: Does a cea increase from 3 to 4 in 1 month indicate a re occurence of colon cancer or spread?
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Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Other interfering factos should be considered...

Detailed Answer:
Hi there,

CEA is the carcinoembryonic antigen in the blood, specific for colon cancer.

Apart cancer, there are other factors that can interfere with the results, including smoking.

So, if your father continued smoking even when the test was carried out, then, most probably, smoking has "falsely" increased the CEA level.

I'd suggest to repeat the CEA test after 4 weeks, but, this time, ask your father to stop smoking, at least a couple of days prior the test. You can discuss it further with his doctor too.

I understand your worries about increase in CEA level, however, keep in mind that doctors usually analyze other factors that might interfere with the results before running into final conclusions.

All the best!
Dr.Albana
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Albana Sejdini

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2006

Answered : 7177 Questions

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What does elevated CEA level indicate?

Brief Answer: Other interfering factos should be considered... Detailed Answer: Hi there, CEA is the carcinoembryonic antigen in the blood, specific for colon cancer. Apart cancer, there are other factors that can interfere with the results, including smoking. So, if your father continued smoking even when the test was carried out, then, most probably, smoking has "falsely" increased the CEA level. I'd suggest to repeat the CEA test after 4 weeks, but, this time, ask your father to stop smoking, at least a couple of days prior the test. You can discuss it further with his doctor too. I understand your worries about increase in CEA level, however, keep in mind that doctors usually analyze other factors that might interfere with the results before running into final conclusions. All the best! Dr.Albana