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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18458
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Hi for mets in the body how high should cea readings usually

Customer Question

Hi for mets in the body how high should cea readings usually be ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
What was your last CEA level?
Was this an increase over the previous level?
If so, what was the lowest CEA level after treatment?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Well my father had surgery for colon cancer in march . He was a stage 3 (dukes c1), the scans revealed no spread .so tumor was removed n he started a course of xeloda .

howeber his cea was as -

may 3

june 4

july 6

august 8

so we pushed for a ct scan which has revealed a 15mm lesion in liver .'so we believe this is a met but we r confussed as his dr said we are not sure what this is and want to now do a pet scan.

he is a smoker too

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information.

The interpretation of CEA looks at both the actual value and the pattern of the results over time. The CEA is most useful when the CEA is initially elevated, returns to normal after treatment, and then is monitored to detect an increase over time. Since there are conditions other than cancer that can elevate the CEA, including smoking, it is not as meaningful if the CEA does not return to normal after treatment.

It is still worrisome that the pattern is a gradual increase in the CEA level, however, it is not at a level that would be worrisome for metastases. An increasing CEA level could indicate a local recurrence or the elevation that could be seen from other conditions. The level that would be suggestive of metastases would be a significantly elevated CEA level, typically ≥ 20.

Of course, there are also some people with cancer that does not have an elevation of CEA, so even normal levels does not preclude the possibility of cancer.

If I can provide any clarification, please let me know.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

But from the ct a new liver lesion has been identified if 15 mm

can a ct not tell if it's a met?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Yes, but you asked about the CEA, which is what I answered. Your doctor is correct to assess the liver lesion, but that is because the lesion is present, regardless of the CEA level.

No, a CT scan is not always able to determine that a lesion is a metastasis, particularly smaller single lesions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Is this likely to be malignant lesion then ?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
It cannot be said from this information, which is why it needs further evaluation.
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