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Carcino Embryonic Antigen

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Overview Brief

Carcinoembryonic antigen or CEA is a protein normally found in minute levels in adults. The CEA blood level might also be increased in certain types of cancerous(breast, lung, pancreatic, stomach or ovarian cancer)and non-cancerous conditions.

What is CEA test

The CEA test helps the doctor to diagnose cancer. Babies in the womb have high levels of it but the levels drop after birth and healthy adults have a very low level. People with some type of cancers have higher levels of this protein in their blood.

Why is CEA test suggested?

A CEA test is suggested:-

  • If the doctor suspects that there might be chances of cancer.
  • To check whether cancer treatment is working.
  • To find out if cancer has relapsed.

However, doctors don’t use this test for the first time diagnosis of cancer as many other diseases might cause the levels of protein to rise.

How is the CEA test performed?

A CEA test usually a blood test and thus the lab technician draws blood from a vein in the arm and the blood sample is tested for an increase in the level of protein.

What are the parameters measured in the CEA test?

The test records the level of CEA in the blood.

Preparation before performing CEA test

The test does not require any prior preparation. The patient should tell the doctor if s/he smokes, is pregnant, takes drugs or is on any medication.

Post care after CEA test

Once the test is done the doctor will decide whether further tests, procedures, follow up care or additional treatment is needed.

Sample types in CEA test

Once the blood sample is sent for testing, different machines will check it for cancer.

  • A normal result is less than 5ng/mL.
  • However, an increased level might occur in both cancerous as well as non-cancerous conditions.

Side effects of the CEA test

No specific side effects. Observed for CEA test.

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