Just to add in here from the Canadian perspective (BC anyway), no, they won't always do CEA under active treatment BUT, it and other markers can be used to monitor treatment trends if they are valid for that patient. They never were for me, but we did them anyway and they stayed low even during treatment (however they were also low with a bleeding rectal primary tumour hanging out in my back door ! ).
Secondly, also a yes to Fletch...the first thing they do here with any increase is repeat a CEA in 3-4 weeks. If still up, proceed to other diagnostics.
Third, and we haven't had this much lately, but have had lots of discussion about the changeover in CEA testing and reporting techniques a while ago. So if your prior CEA was done under the old system the values will be lower than the values tested under the new system. Added to that, the Canadian guidelines were altered to bring values in line with the WHO values...so there are other issues affecting exact valuations.
Fourth (sorry didn't mean to get this longwinded
) docs will generally monitor trends not just one value and MUST always take that info back to the individual patient situation, one size does NOT fit all, and they should be treating the patient...not the lab result.
Finally...lab error. It does happen. It needs to be ruled out.
Hope that helped a bit cinnamongirl56
I think we can add a new term here CEAnxiety to scanxiety
but it is better IMO that they are looking seriously at anything which could give them a heads up on needing more info or treatments. Remember there are still a number of other things which cause CEA increases, so "false positives" in the CRC monitoring sense are common.
One breathe at a time, sometimes what we have to do best !