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belindahill's picture
Posts: 144
Joined: Jan 2011

My husband had stage 3 cancer dx in Aug 2010, he has been on xeloda only for 8 cycles fin in march 2011, why are some people on 2 types of chemo? Also his cea was 2 then 4 then 2 again is this anything to worry about.

CherylHutch's picture
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hi Belinda,

First... let me welcome you and your husband to the board. You'll get lots of information here, whether just reading the kajillion of posts or just come out and ask a question like you did :)

CEA ... this is just one of many tools the doctors use to keep tabs on what is going on. Everyone is different, hence no two readings between two people mean the same thing. And for a lot of people, CEA is not reliable, so if a doctor decides not to put too much weight on the readings, don't let that concern you. The bottom line, it doesn't really matter what the numbers are, doctors are looking for a trend. If the trend is your CEA goes up with each reading, then they will take that as a sign to follow up with other scans or tests. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong, but it might be a clue to look. As for it being 2, then 4, then 2... three readings really don't tell us too much. CEA can fluctuate too... so that 4 may just have been a fluctuation. Anything 4 and below is considered a normal reading :)

One chemo or more.... ahh... the never ending question. It is totally normal to be on just one chemo and it's totally normal to be on a combo. If one doesn't work, then an oncologist may suggest another, and if that doesn't work, may suggest a combination. There are some pretty standard combos and and some stand alone chemos. Sometimes the will even combine a combo with a stand alone. Xeloda is the pill (oral) form of 5FU, which is an intravenous kind of chemo. With the intravenous, sometimes they will add another one, for example FOLFOX which is 5FU, Oxipilatin and Leuvorcorin. Xeloda is a "mild" (if there is such a term when talking chemo) form of the 5FU and people have been known to tolerate it better... but your mileage may vary.

So, when the oncologist recommends a particular chemo, don't be shy... ask them why they think this one is most appropriate or why they think it will be better than any of the others. Your oncologist will be able to explain why because each patient is treated as an individual and their treatments are worked out for them and their cancer in mind.

Hope this helps!


hopeforcure49's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: Jan 2011

Welcome, I have stage 4 colorectal. They placed me on Xeloda and radiation first to decrease the tumor. and then do surgery. I also did 8 weeks. They say that cea levels can rise when cancer cells die off. and if dropped back down. this is good. Blessings from Lourdes

belindahill's picture
Posts: 144
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi thank you for your reply, when will you be having surgery? my hubby started his chemo after surgery in August and will take his last oral tab march! Hope all goes well with you.
Love from England,

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