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Carcinoembryonic Antigen

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Also known as: CEA
Formal name: Carcinoembryonic Antigen

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At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

Primarily to monitor cancer treatment, including response to therapy and recurrence; as an indicator of the amount of cancer or size of tumor present (tumor burden) and to assist in cancer staging; occasionally as follow up to a positive screening test for cancer, to compare whether the level falls to normal (indicating that the cancer was all likely removed) after treatment for the cancer

When to Get Tested?

When you have been diagnosed with colon, pancreas, breast, lung, ovarian, medullary thyroid or other cancer prior to starting cancer treatment and then, if elevated, at intervals during and after therapy; occasionally when cancer is suspected but not confirmed – to aid in its detection

Sample Required?

A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm; occasionally another body fluid such as fluid from the abdomen (peritoneal), the chest (pleural), or from the spinal cord (cerebrospinal, CSF)

Test Preparation Needed?