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elevated CEA while on chemo

Posts: 295
Joined: Apr 2010

Just wondering if any of you experience an elevated CEA while undergoing chemo. My husband's number has fluxuated from 9 (Aug) to 3.9 (Sept.) to 7.8(Dec.) to 7.2 (Jan.) It actually decreased when he took a month off of Chemo which may mean our alternatives are working. And Nov. was a rough month with LOW WBC, hospitalization and a couple weeks off of chemo. I just wondered if any of you that have had therapy for a long time have seen an elevated CEA but the cancer stays stable?

Since he will probably be on chemo indefinitely(unless something else works) he likes to have breaks periodically to build up his system. The Erbitux really does a number on his face and feet. Also his skin is extremely dry.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I've had something a little similar -- my CEA is hovering around 15-17, even though scans show my spots are shrinking. Frustrating. But, CEA is not the most reliable of indicators, at least for most people. Your husband's CEA numbers don't seem very high to me -- what does his doctor say?

I will probably be in chemo indefinitely, too -- I'm already fantasizing about a chemo break! I think it can be a great idea.

I haven't been on Erbitux (I'm KRAS mutant) so can't help out there. But I know others on this board have and may have some useful suggestions. I think some have use antibiotics (oral) to help with face rash.

Good luck


Posts: 295
Joined: Apr 2010

You have been dealing with the ups and downs of this disease for awhile. Thanks for the feedback. Those numbers are elevated for him. When he was diagnosed at stage four the CEA was only 14(high for him). In December his scan looked good. Any good news is GOOD news. Why worry about the rest, Right?

geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

Yep, CEA can fluctuate. Now if it continues to climb and then double, then you know cancer is on the move, that is what happened to George. He was really never below 17 or 20 but when it went to 25, then 30, then 40, we knew something was up. Oncologist had told us a few numbers up or down while on chemo is normal, spiking is not. George has been at this for 22 months.

A lot of people use udder cream for the dry feet and skin. You can also try Eucerin cream, not the lotion, but the tub of cream. Rub it in real good. It penetrates but is not greasy and goes a long way. I have a skin condition personally and the University of Michigan many yeas ago recommended Eucerin and even here in Michigan, using it, never have dry skin. All the other stuff doesn't penetrate. Rub it in real good on his feet and then put some white socks on. For the face rash, you can get stuff for it but I don't know what it is, perhaps others will chime in on that one.

Take care - Tina

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