Deb m wrote:.. . The concern is a continuing increase in the numbers. If your having one done for the first time, and it's elevated a bit, it would be hard to say just from that one result if it's an indication of something or just nothing...
This is so true. In the case of CEA, both elevation and trend are important. If your CEA elevation is in the normal range, there is no particular cause for worry. What is important, though, is the presence or absence of a trend. But you cannot verify a trend with just one or two measurements. You need at least three measurements that increase steadily over a span of time.
If the second measurement turns out to be much higher than the first, they may just wait another few months to see if the third CEA measurement is even higher than the second one. This would help confirm that something is going on.
In the research literature, single elevations of CEA are often called "transient elevations". There are lots of reasons why a CEA measurement might go up temporarily. They usually need to take another measurement several months later to see if the "spike" in CEA was evidence of a trend or if it was just a transient elevation.