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Formal name: Carcinoembryonic Antigen

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 determining prognosis and cancer staging; to determine if cancer has spread (metastasis); occasionally as follow up to a positive screening test for cancer, to help determine whether cancer is present in the body, though it is not useful as a general population screening test

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 the arm; occasionally another body fluid such as peritoneal, pleural, cerebrospinal (CSF)

Test Preparation Needed?