Topic: CA 19-9 vs. CEA numbers

Hi everyone,

What's the difference between the CA 19-9 and CEA tumor marker numbers?  My mom's CA 19-9 has been going down, but her CEA number keeps going up (from 5.9 when she was first diagnosed to 20.5).  I asked my mom's nurse what this could mean & he said it could mean various things, but only a scan would truly reveal what's going on.  My mom's scheduled for a CT scan on 12/30 anyway to see if the chemo has been working, so I guess we'll find out then.

But my question is, is this something that could signal a bad news?  My mom's been battling depression as it is, and I think it might be really hard for her if she got bad news on 12/30.  Should I try to prepare her for it?  (I've been checking her lab results, so she doesn't know anything about these numbers.)  If so, how should I go about doing it?

Thanks,
Caroline

Re: CA 19-9 vs. CEA numbers

Caroline,
I wish I could help you, but none of my oncs has ever discussed my cea with me. I know the ca19-9 is used to possibly tell us what is happening, but it is not a certainty.
I hope someone who knows more can get back to you soon.

KrisJ
"Don't just have minutes in the day; have moments in time."
Any opinions I give are based on personal experiences, and are not based on medical knowledge. I strongly suggest receiving medical care and opinions.

Re: CA 19-9 vs. CEA numbers

Hi Caroline I too no nothing about the Cea numbers.  The ca 19-9 however I will tell you what i have heard..I've heard the numbers on their own really doesn't tell us much.  However when be drawn in conjunction with chemo, the trend of these numbers going up or down could possibly indicate how treatment is working.  Although as my doc always says scans are the true tests. smile

Hope, love, strength...2013 and for the years to come, Porter.

Re: CA 19-9 vs. CEA numbers

Caroline -
Out doc said not to worry about the numbers and the CA 19-9 is the only one we have done on a regular basis. When I asked the doc he said not to dwell on it at all since so many things can affect it. He said the scans were more important than anything.
As hard as it is, I would try to get her to not really think about it. It's tough.

KrisV

Any advice given is based on my experiences and should not be substituted for any medical recommendations. Please speak with your provider before making any changes.

Re: CA 19-9 vs. CEA numbers

bananfish....this is what I have learned:

The tumor marker Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a protein found in many types of cells malignant or non-cancerous.  It first was identified in colon cancer but also is detected in benign conditions.  It is not as a screening test. Similar to the CA 19-9 antigen, it does not replace a pathological diagnosis.  As has been suggested by the others, I would not place too much emphasize on the rising of these markers.   I wish for you and your Mom to have the ability to relax a bit and enjoy the holidays.  All my good wishes for the upcoming test.
Hugs
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: CA 19-9 vs. CEA numbers

This is really helpful.  Many many thanks to everyone who replied to my question!!

Caroline