Q. Why are my carcinoembryonic antigen levels are higher even though I am a non-smoker?

Answered by
Dr. Rajesh Gulati
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 26, 2022

Hi doctor,

I am a healthy 50-year-old female with no significant medical history except cholecystectomy and uterine fibroids in the past. I had got general blood tests, including tumor markers, done. My CEA levels have come out to be in the smoker range though I am a non-smoker, and AFP levels are at the upper limit of the lab range. Kindly advice.

Thank you.



Welcome to

I can understand your concern.

You should get a positron emission tomography (PET scan) done. It is a specific test for cancer cells. Another option is to repeat carcinoembryonic antigen and alpha-fetoprotein tests after two weeks.

If there is a significant rise, it is alarming and needs further investigations. If reports are almost the same or less, there is nothing to worry about. Then repeat carcinoembryonic antigen and alpha-fetoprotein tests after a month.

Thank you.

Hi doctor,

Thanks for the response.

Could this range also be suggestive of a pathology? It is within the lab range but near the higher limit of the range. Kindly advice.

Thank you.



Welcome back to

It could be normal also as it is still in a range. It needs regular monitoring. So you can repeat the tests after two weeks and then once in month.

Thank you.

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