Regularly timed tests???

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 11/30/2005 12:44 PM (GMT -7)   
I asked this question to my onco the last time I saw her... after I am done treatment then what happens???
She replied with the standard "you'll see me X times per year for Y years blah blah blah..." So I asked why I wouldn't be getting regular tests (other than mamograms)  like bone scans, mri's etc. She said that they dont "do that" for breast cancer patients. I couldn't really get a good answer as to why. Is this the standard? Is it because if "it" comes back, I'll know by the way that I feel? Won't it be too late by then? Isn't it better to be proactive and get scanned on a regular basis? A friend's son who had a different kind of cancer goes every 6 months for various tests. Why shouldn't I? Or is it just my doctor? Is anyone out there (who is done treatment) on regularly timed tests?
There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 11/30/2005 4:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Doctors seem to have varying opinions on this. Some doctors "don't do" scans. Some doctors do initial scans as a baseline, then don't do them again until there appears to be something amiss (aches, pains, etc...) Some doctors do them every year or two. Tests such as bone scans can be misleading. Arthritis and other changes show up and flag as hot spots, but you could have cancer and it not be detected because it may not be a big enough "chunk" at the time of the scan. I've had two MRI's and several x-rays in the last 6 months because I had pain in my lower back right after a scan, and it showed up on the scan. Had I not been a brca patient with a "?" bone scan, I would have probably gotten perscription motrin and a PT script.

I've had friends who had scans and bloodwork that showed nothing when they had symptomatic mets. I've had friends who were asymptomatic and their mets were found via scans and bloodwork.

I think if you have good insurance and an onc who wants you to feel at ease, you can decide for yourself about the scans. If the cancer comes back, it comes back, and all the scans in the world won't stop that.

Your signature is right...there are no "wrong" turnings...but there are some that make us feel more comfortable than others.

Good luck, sweets.

Love and hugs...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 11/30/2005 6:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Chantry, I always struggle with this onc does not do routine tests. I go to a major comprehensive cancer center, one of the best around, so by reputation, it helps me to feel comfortable with their approach. In my opinion, that is the most important....feeling comfortable with the team. Some believe that catching mets early, before you are symptomatic, won't change the course of treatment or the disease's progression. My onc does routine blood work when I see him and that is it, unless I have other issues to evaluate. Last year, when I had pain in the sternum, he did not waste time to send me for a bone scan and chest CT.

When you are ready for the routine visits, find out what the plan is. If you are not satisfied, shop around for a second or third opinion. It is your right to be satisfied with your medical team.


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