CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

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FindTheBestHelp
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:13 am

CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby FindTheBestHelp » Mon May 01, 2017 7:15 pm

Hi All,

As a colon cancer patient with the following history, would you be alarmed at the most recent 2 results from 1/28/17 and 4/29/17 (especially this one)?

Aside from cancer, what other things affect/cause CEA to fluctuate? Are there things to be mindful of lifestyle-wise that should be done or not done prior to taking a blood test?

Only thing changed since the last 2 blood tests was that the Primary Care Physician said cholesterol medication and low dosage Aspirin should be taken because of a condition causing hardening of the arteries and the plaque build up could continue to narrow pathways. Took cholesterol test twice and the first time it was on the high side, and the 2nd time with some better dieting/watching foods consumed, it was a better result. Still, the PCP advised being put on cholesterol medication and low dosage Aspirin to help control and slow the rate of hardening and buildup. Fish oil capsules were also recommended. Of the doctor's recommendations, have NOT started on cholesterol medication yet.. only have taken low dosage Aspirin and fish oil capsules.

Aside from that, another change was this past month, took a flight overseas for 3 weeks. I guess some radiation exposure comes with high altitude and also x-rays at TSA checkpoints.


Could anything in bold above cause the below recent increase in CEA level?

The oncologist's assistant recommended another blood test in 1 month, probably because we asked these questions and expressed concern?

Would the below trend concern you?

CEA Results
-------------------
6/10/14 - 130.0 (Pre-Surgery CEA test)
7/15/14 - 11.8 (Post-Surgery [total colectomy] CEA test)
1/29/15 - 2.8 (roughly around January 2015 the prescribed 6 months of chemo ended, with quarterly blood tests and 6-months CT scans from here on out)
4/29/15 - 2.3
7/25/15 - 2.1
10/31/15 - 1.9
1/26/16 - 1.6 (lowest level recorded)
4/30/16 - 1.9
7/28/16 - 1.9
10/29/16 - 1.7
1/28/17 - 2.1 (start of "trend" upwards?)
4/29/17 - 3.0 (biggest jump yet; previously typically a change of 0.3 to 0.4; this one was 0.9)

muskokamike
Posts: 182
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:38 pm

Re: CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby muskokamike » Mon May 01, 2017 9:08 pm

CEA testing causes me the most anxiety. If you look at my signature my CEA has been for the most part higher than dx. You will see that I had jump from 1.7 to 2.9 almost like yours. My onc did bump up my scheduled CT scan by three months just to be sure but she was 90% sure it was nothing. CEA will fluctuate for most on here and if you have been here long enough it is probably one of the most posted subjects that causes the most anxiety. My onc said it was the trend they watch and for me it did drop back the following test but still higher than dx. Did you have all your test from the same lab? There are two different normal highs one i believe is 2.5 and like my lab it is 4.0. Smokers also have higher levels. See what your next result is and if it jumps again your onc may bump up your scans to see if anything is going on. You could just be destined to have a higher than normal CEA level than most like me.
53M Dx rc10/31/13
and a huge WTF?....then
CT scan, BONE scan
MRI/T3N0M0 1 suspicious node
5 wks chemo/rad
LAR open TME 2/26/14
temp ileo
0/24 nodes pCR - pathological
Mop up Folfox (8) Mar/28-Jul/4
Aug/14 clear CT scan
8/27/14 reversal
Feb/15 clear scope
July/15 clear CT scan
Feb/16 clear CT scan
Feb/17 clear CT scan
CEA levels 1.6 dx
1.6,1.4,1.7,2.4,2.9, 2.7 2.3 2.5 2.2
2.1 Aug 17
0-4 normal

weisssoccermom
Posts: 5749
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Location: Pacific NW

Re: CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby weisssoccermom » Mon May 01, 2017 9:45 pm

Before you go getting too upset, please check that the lab is using the same testing method on both times. There are two very different tests (Bayer/Seimens & Roche) with different 'normal' levels and they CANNOT be interchanged. The normal lab values are different from each other....for example, the Bayer method has a normal of 0 - 2.5 for a non smoker and the Roche has a normal for non smokers of 0 - 3.7.....and that has recently changed as well.

I only get my CEA tested now once a year and since last year, the lab my GP uses changed testing method which caused a large increase (1.7 highest with Bayer to a 2.6 with the Roche method) and freaked me out. My GP kept saying it was 'normal' but I wasn't convinced until I realized that the lab had changed from the Bayer to Roche testing.
So, moral of the story, before you go getting concerned....check the testing method and the associated NORMAL for that test.
Dx 6/22/2006 IIA rectal cancer
6 wks rad/Xeloda -finished 9/06
1st attempt transanal excision 11/06
11/17/06 XELOX 1 cycle
5 months Xeloda only Dec '06 - April '07
10+ blood clots, 1 DVT 1/07
transanal excision 4/20/07 path-NO CANCER CELLS!
NED now and forever!
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mmblz
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Re: CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby mmblz » Thu May 04, 2017 10:48 pm

Would I be worried? Heck yeah.
Should you be worried? likely not.

I had some readings that were in similar range, climbing. It was really hard until I got a lower reading. Next test Tuesday, will see if I'm due for more worry or not...
37yo married 12 years. 4 kids 9, 7, 4, 2
2015-09-21 colonoscopy finds tumor in sigmoid, partial obstruction
2015-09-22 CT no mets, path G2 adenocarcinoma, CEA 1.2
2015-09-29 lap hemicolectomy at MSKCC
2015-10-06 pT3 N1a M0 stage IIIB
2015-10-22 folfox started - 12 rounds, last 4 no oxaliplatin
2016-10-27 clear CT !

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Hannah Faulkner
Posts: 29
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Re: CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby Hannah Faulkner » Fri May 05, 2017 12:47 am

I don’t like CEA it has given me anxiety every time. Testing method is also a good determinator of reading be sure which one you are tested with.

testing765
Posts: 306
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:41 am

Re: CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby testing765 » Fri May 05, 2017 2:59 pm

Hi. Another member on this board suggested that I be fully hydrated before I leave the house and go to the chemo center for cea test. I have found that when I drink a good amount of water an hour or so before the test, my cea numbers, on average, are lower. So do you recall if you were dehydrated when you had the last couple of cea tests? It is just something to consider. I would ask for a cea test to be done sooner than the current schedule that your oncologist has set up. Try not to worry.
male-age 44 at diagnosis
8/14-clnscopy
8/14-CT scan,no mets
9/14-left colectomy,CEA 2.2 before surgery
pT2pN2bpM0
3 cm tumor in dscnding colon
7/23 pos LNs
low grade MSI stable
10/14-start folfox
1/15-CT & PET scan and sigmdoscopy- no mets
3/15-finish folfox
9/15- colonoscopy- 3 polyps removed
10/15- CT scan, NED
10/16- CT scan, NED, CEA 1.6
10/14 1.9; 4/15 2.8; 5/15 2.4; 9/15 2.8; 12/15 3.1; 1/16 3.0; 4/16 2.5; 7/16 2.5; 10/16 1.6; 1/17 1.9

FindTheBestHelp
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:13 am

Re: CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby FindTheBestHelp » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:13 am

weisssoccermom wrote:Before you go getting too upset, please check that the lab is using the same testing method on both times. There are two very different tests (Bayer/Seimens & Roche) with different 'normal' levels and they CANNOT be interchanged. The normal lab values are different from each other....for example, the Bayer method has a normal of 0 - 2.5 for a non smoker and the Roche has a normal for non smokers of 0 - 3.7.....and that has recently changed as well.

I only get my CEA tested now once a year and since last year, the lab my GP uses changed testing method which caused a large increase (1.7 highest with Bayer to a 2.6 with the Roche method) and freaked me out. My GP kept saying it was 'normal' but I wasn't convinced until I realized that the lab had changed from the Bayer to Roche testing.
So, moral of the story, before you go getting concerned....check the testing method and the associated NORMAL for that test.


Thanks and sorry for the late response. I looked into this question and was informed that Kaiser performs the same test each time so there is no mix of test types in the measurements provided in the earlier post.

FindTheBestHelp
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:13 am

Re: CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby FindTheBestHelp » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:16 am

testing765 wrote:Hi. Another member on this board suggested that I be fully hydrated before I leave the house and go to the chemo center for cea test. I have found that when I drink a good amount of water an hour or so before the test, my cea numbers, on average, are lower. So do you recall if you were dehydrated when you had the last couple of cea tests? It is just something to consider. I would ask for a cea test to be done sooner than the current schedule that your oncologist has set up. Try not to worry.


Hi, thanks for your reply. I'm curious about this and wondering now if there's some correlation between CEA number and whether you were fully hydrated or dehydrated at the time of blood test. Does anyone know if there's evidence of such a correlation? Will try to be fully hydrated before next quarterly blood test end of this month.

benben
Posts: 215
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Location: Washington State

Re: CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby benben » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:09 am

I get CEA tests done every 2 weeks day before treatment with all my other blood tests.
Mine started 2.7 pre-surgery. Then dropped to 1.8/1.9 and then gained back to 2.7/3.8/3.8 and now 4.5
because of the increase for the past 2 months he scheduled a ct scan for me early. I'll get one on the 20th.
I have 2 treatments of 5fu and luecovorin left. Hoping its nothing and the ONC thinks most likely its not cancer, but wants to be proactive in catching anything early.
He also mentioned the first scan may have missed something. It's also possible that your CEA can rise when cancer cells are dying. It can also raise due to inflammation.
I think mine is mostly inflammation related as I'm still having a lot of very loose bowel movements along with mucus. I had a resection prior to chemo - so I don't think my anastomosis is completely healed as well as possible adhesions in the left side small intestines where my colon was removed and placed more center to make the distance up of the lost 8 inches of combined colon/rectum.

So there are multiple factors that can cause small elevation of CEA.
Try not to worry, just get it checked out and move forward.

best of luck.
----------------------
3/29/17 diagnosed CRC - 44 y/o Male
4/17/17 ULAR - Straight anastomosis - no ostomy.
Path: low grade T3n1m0 - moderate diff.
KRAS - NO, MLH1/PMS2/MSH6/MSH2 - Normal.
5/3 med port install
5/22 folfox - first treatment.
3rd treat, delayed - low ANC - reduced to 90% OXI
Granix given, Now Zarxio treatments every session.
Treatment 7 reduced to 75% OXI
Treatment 8 - NO OXI, just Luke and 5FU here on out.
Current - 10 treatments done, LOW RBC

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dianetavegia
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Re: CEA levels - would this trend concern you?

Postby dianetavegia » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:38 pm

Weissoccermom, Labcorp has a high norm as follows (2017)

Reference Interval
Range: 0−4.7 ng/mL; nonsmoker: <3.9 ng/mL; smoker: <5.6 ng/mL
Stage IIIB cc surgery 1/7/09. 5/17 nodes. 12 tx FOLFOX
Stage IVa 2/15/12. CEA 6.4 PET = 1.5cm liver met. HR 4/11/12 No chemo

NED at scan April 2017 Eight yrs, 3 months since original dx. Five yrs. 6 months post liver resection.
“O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me.”
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