CEA Test

What is a CEA Test?

A CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) test is a blood test used to monitor people who have had certain types of cancer. The CEA test measures the level of CEA, a protein produced by some types of tumors, in the blood. If the level of CEA is elevated, it may indicate that cancer has returned or that it is growing. However, the CEA test is not a way to diagnose specific types of cancer; it is used mainly as an indicator of cancer recurrence or progression.

Preparation for a CEA Test

The CEA test is usually performed on a blood sample taken from a vein in the arm. No special preparation is usually required for the test, but it is important that the person does not have any food or drink for at least eight hours before the test, as this can affect the results.

Procedure for a CEA Test

The procedure for a CEA test is generally very simple and typically takes only a few minutes. A health care professional will take a sample of blood from the person being tested and send it to a laboratory for analysis. The laboratory will measure the amount of CEA in the person's blood and will report the results to the doctor.

Types of CEA Tests

There are several different types of CEA tests available. The most common type of CEA test is a basic CEA test, which measures the total amount of CEA in a person's blood. There are also more specific tests available, such as panel CEA tests, which measure the levels of several different types of CEA.

Risks of a CEA Test

The CEA test is generally very safe and has no risks associated with it. The only risk that may be associated with the test is a slight chance of bruising or bleeding from the needle puncture site. Additionally, some medications can affect CEA levels in the blood, so it is important to speak to a doctor before taking any medications that could potentially affect the results of the test.

Why is a CEA Test Done?

A CEA test is used to monitor people who have had certain types of cancer, such as colorectal, gastric, lung, or breast cancer. It can also be used to monitor people who have had surgery for these types of cancers, or to detect differences in CEA levels between two samples taken at different times.

When is a CEA Test Done?

A CEA test is typically done when a doctor needs to check for the recurrence or progression of a certain type of cancer. This may include follow-up visits after a diagnosis, or after a patient has undergone treatment for the cancer. It is also done periodically to monitor the course of the disease in patients who have already been diagnosed with a certain type of cancer.