This test measures the level of Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) in the blood. CEA is a protein which is often elevated in people with certain types of cancer. CEA is used as a tumor marker for a variety of cancers including colon, breast, rectum, liver, pancreas, stomach and ovaries. This test is not typically used as a screening for cancer because not all cancer cases will show elevated CEA and CEA can be elevated in other conditions such as cirrhosis, inflammation, ulcers, emphysema and benign breast disease as well as in people who smoke.
CEA is usually measured when a person is diagnosed with cancer and then subsequently to monitor their response to treatment. While CEA is not typically used as a screening, it can be ordered when a person is suspected of having cancer but has not been diagnosed if a doctor determines it is relevant.
For additional Cancer lab tests, please see our Cancer Testing Category.
Turnaround time for the CEA test is typically 1 business day.
Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.
The CEA test has no fasting requirements.
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