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    Increasing CEA level
    concerned_daughter posted:
    What shall we do? My dad is diagnosed with colon cancer last year, stage C2. He underwent surgery and chemotheraphy (he took Xeloda). His CEA after chemo was 13.05. After 4 mos. His last CEA test went up to 22. At the time his last CEA level was taken, he had cough and colds and was taken to hospital due to high blood pressure. What does the increase in CEA means? could it be that the chemo had no effect in him? Some says that it is because he had cough and colds then that is why CEA went up. Please enlighten me about this.
    brunosbud responded:

    Monitoring cancer treatment is the most common use of tumor markers. As cancer is reduced, levels often decrease. Stable or increasing levels often indicate that the cancer is not responding to treatment. The choice of tumor marker to use for monitoring is important. Only a marker elevated before treatment should be used to monitor a person during or after treatment. Timing of the tests is also important. Each tumor marker has a unique life span in the blood. To monitor a treatment's success, enough time must have passed for the initial marker to be cleared from the blood. Tests done too soon may be falsely elevated because the marker produced by the untreated cancer is still present...

    ...Conclusions based on tumor marker tests are seldom based on one test result but on a series of test results, called serial measurements. A series of increasing or decreasing values is more significant than a single value.

    Talk to the doctor. CEA is just one means of measure. CAT or PET scan (physical measure) is another. Hope this helps, good luck!

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