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Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test

A carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test is used to check how well treatment is working in certain types of cancer, particularly colon cancer.

Carcinoembryonic antigens are substances (usually proteins) that are produced by some types of cancer.

In response to the antigens, the body produces antibodies to help fight them.

A CEA test is often carried out after surgery to check carcinoembryonic antigen levels.

As well as being a useful marker for colon cancer, CEA tests can be used to assess other types of cancer, including:

CEA levels may also be raised in non-cancerous conditions, such as liver disease and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis).

Read more about the CEA test at Lab Tests Online UK.

Page last reviewed: 21 September 2018
Next review due: 21 September 2021