The carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test determines the level of CEA in the blood. CEA is a protein normally found in the tissue of an establishing baby in the womb. The blood level of this protein disappears or ends up being extremely low after birth. In grownups, an abnormal level of CEA might suggest cancer.
CEA Blood Test: Preparation and Procedure
A blood sample is needed.
Cigarette smoking might increase the CEA level. If you smoke, your doctor may tell you to avoid doing so for a short time prior to the test. But we recommend to quit smoking completely.
How the Test will Feel
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some individuals feel moderate pain. Others feel just a prick or stinging experience. Afterward, there might be some throbbing or a slight bruise. These soon disappear.
Why CEA Blood Test is Performed
This test is done to keep an eye on the response to treatment and after that to check for the return of colon and other cancers such as medullary thyroid cancer and cancers of the rectum, lung, breast, liver, pancreas, stomach, and ovaries.
It is not used as a screening test for cancer and ought to not be done unless a medical diagnosis of cancer has actually been made.
Normal Results of CEA Blood Test
The typical range is 0 to 2.5 micrograms per liter (mcg/L). In smokers, the normal variety is 0 to 5 mcg/L.
In cigarette smokers, a little higher values may be considered regular.
Abnormal Results of CEA Blood Test
A high CEA level in an individual just recently treated for specific cancers may mean the cancer has actually returned. A higher than typical level might be due to the following cancers:
- Breast cancer
- Cancers of the reproductive and urinary systems
- Colon cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Thyroid cancer
Higher than typical CEA level alone can not diagnose a brand-new cancer. Further screening is needed.
What Conditions Can Cause an Elevated CEA?
Both benign (safe) and malignant (cancerous) conditions can increase the CEA level. The most regular cancer which causes an increased CEA is cancer of the colon and anus. Others consist of cancers of the pancreas, stomach, breast, lung, and medullary carcinoma of the thyroid and ovarian cancer. Benign conditions which can raise CEA include cigarette smoking, infections, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and some benign growths in the very same organs where a raised CEA suggests cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause a temporary increase in CEA due to the death of growth cells and release of CEA into the blood stream. Altering levels of CEA during cancer treatment must always be associated with other clinical findings. While uneasy, modifications in CEA are not diagnostic of cancer progression on their own.
An increased CEA level might also be because of:
- Liver and gallbladder issues, such as scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), or gallbladder swelling (cholecystitis).
- Heavy cigarette smoking.
- Inflammatory bowel illness (such as ulcerative colitis or diverticulitis).
- Lung infection.
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
- Stomach ulcer.
Risks Related the Test
Veins and arteries differ in size from a single person to another and from one side of the body to the other. Acquiring a blood sample from some individuals may be harder than from others.
Other risks related to having blood drawn are minor but may consist of:
- Extreme bleeding (rare).
- Passing out or feeling lightheaded.
- Hematoma (blood building up under the skin).
- Infection (a slight risk whenever the skin is broken).