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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Colon and Rectal Cancers

Question: No cancer before but CEA=23 ng/ml

 jackdean54 - Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:51 pm

- serum cea/carcinoembryomic = 23 ng/ml
- no cancer before
- colonoscopy founds no cancer or benign lesions
do i have to be worried?

 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:41 am

User avatar Hi,
The CEA levels you have quoted are indeed high!

CEA levels may also be raised in some non-neoplastic conditions like ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis, infections, benign breast disease, peptic ulcers and cirrhosis.
Benign disease does not usually cause an increase above 10 ng/ml.

The normal range for CEA in an adult non-smoker is <2.5 ng/ml and for a smoker <5.0 ng/ml.In smokers,it has been observed that the levels tend to normalize about 3 months after quitting smoking.

CEA is not an effective screening test for hidden(occult) cancer as many early tumors do not cause significant elevations. Also, many tumors never cause an abnormally elevated levels,even in advanced disease.

Because of the observed variability between results obtained between laboratories, ideally, the same laboratory should repeat the test when monitoring patients with cancer.

As you have a family history of colorectal cancer,I think you should consult your doctor again and discuss the option of repeating the test. Best wishes!
 jackdean54 - Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:29 am

Thank you Doctor for your reply.

Your answer perfectly matches my further investigations so ... I have been a little worried these last days, especially because I don't appear to have any of the benign conditions.

So, I have asked my first attention doctor to order a FDG-PET, which has been programed for today, here, in Barcelona.

It costs me 1,121 euros, but I think it is a wise investment.

Nevertheless, I will also do any conventional diagnostic tests that my doctor will consider, but at least, I will have some relief, if PET finds no malignancy.

Thank you very much and kind regards,
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:05 pm

User avatar Hi jackdean54,
Thank you for the update.I hope all will turn out well for you.Good luck!

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