March 1, 2024

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Is CEA raised because of cancer?

Is CEA raised because of cancer?

Is CEA raised because of cancer?  The physical examination found that CEA is elevated, is it cancer? What should I do?

Is CEA raised because of cancer?

There is an abnormality in the cancer standard CEA. It is recommended to review after 3 months. Will you get cancer? What should I do”?

Some people may feel the anxiety and worry  on this.  Let us learn something about CEA!


Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a tumor-associated antigen, is an acidic glycoprotein with the characteristics of human embryonic antigens. It exists on the surface of cancer cells differentiated from endoderm cells and is a structural protein of cell membranes. It is formed in the cytoplasm, secreted out of the cell through the cell membrane, and then into the surrounding body fluids. It can be detected from various body fluids and excrements such as serum, cerebrospinal fluid, breast milk, gastric juice, pleural and ascites fluid, urine, and feces.

In the beginning, CEA was used as a specific marker for early diagnosis of colon cancer and rectal cancer. Later, after a lot of clinical practice, it was found that the serum levels of breast cancer, lung cancer and other malignant tumors were also elevated. Therefore, as a broad-spectrum tumor marker, carcinoembryonic antigen cannot be used as a specific indicator for the diagnosis of certain malignant tumors, but it has very important clinical value in the differential diagnosis, disease monitoring, and efficacy evaluation of malignant tumors.


But for different groups of people, the abnormal value of this value does not mean that there is “cancer”.

Because CEA is elevated, in addition to cancer patients, serum CEA may also be elevated in patients with ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver cirrhosis and other people, as well as smokers and pregnant women.


Elevated (positive) single tumor markers cannot be used as evidence for the existence of tumors, but should be combined with medical history, clinical manifestations, laboratory tests and other tests (imaging, endoscopy, etc.) for comprehensive analysis.

Therefore, if you do not have a history of tumor-related diseases and only found elevated CEA during physical examination, please pay attention to the following points:

(1) Meditation: Don’t be too panic about whether you are suffering from “cancer”, and face it positively.

(2) Patience: Under the guidance of a doctor, complete further examinations.

(3) Peace of mind: If no abnormality is found after investigation, it is recommended to review regularly and observe this indicator dynamically.

(4) Concentration: During the follow-up process, if the indicator is found to be persistently abnormal, it is necessary to attach great importance to it and conduct a comprehensive examination under the guidance of a doctor.



Of course, some friends said that a normal CEA means there must be no tumor, right?

In fact, this is also a misunderstanding.

Clinically, we have found that the CEA value of some cancer patients, even the combination of tumor markers, does not increase from beginning to end. It may be that a suitable tumor marker has not been developed yet, or it happens to be not within 95% of the reference value. Within the confidence interval.

In short, if a single CEA test result is found to be elevated in the physical examination, its changes should be dynamically observed. The significance of a continuous increase is more important than a high value.

If you feel anxious and worried, be sure to ask a professional doctor to help you find the cause together and get out of the predicament as soon as possible!




(source:internet, reference only)

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