• hab's Avatar

    Post-Operative Tests

    Asked by hab on Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Post-Operative Tests

    To treat vulvar cancer, my mother recently had a radical vulvectomy. Additionally, she underwent a bilateral removal of the groin lymph nodes. (Cancer was found in one lymph node.) Following surgery, she underwent 28 radiation treatments. Now what? She's been told she will see the doctor every three months for check-ups. The surgeon said they would be visual check-ups. This doesn't seem like enough, waiting for it to reappear as a lesion. The surgeon also said insurance generally doesn't cover a PET scan for vulvar cancer. What follow-up tests are available to determine if the cancer has spread, etc.? After all this, we don't just want to wait for the cancer to show up again. We want to be proactive, but don't know how to proceed. Any suggestions?

    2 Answers from the Community

    • Peroll's Avatar

      Most cancers have blood marker tests that when the indicator comes up it indicates the cancer may have returned. They will probably do blood tests with every visit. PET scans are quite expensive. When I had my first one over 8 years ago the injection alone was something like $7000. It has come down but still costs thousands. CT scans are much cheaper does not highlight active cancer as well. CT scans are normally used for screening for the spread of cancer. Please note that none of these tests positively identify cancer but identify thingsthatmight be cancer, so it one of these comes back positive don't panick as it might not be cancer. Also if these tests show ancer it has already spread, or reoccured. The objective is to find any reoccurance or spread as early as possible. You and/or your mother should have a dissuction with the doctor qnd tell himthat you want to be proactive as possible and ask where your mothers canr spreads to aan how quickly it grows. This will help you understand the proposed treatment. If you are still not satisfied then seek a seond opinion. Good luck!!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      This is pretty much standard procedure for most cancers. It is basically the same as before the cancer was diagnosed originally. She didn't have PET scans then and she won't have them now unless there are reasons to suspect recurrence from symptoms, visual examination, blood tests, etc. PET scans don't detect cancer, they detect high metabolic activity which MAY be cancer, but could a whole of other things to like a simple transient inflammation. There just isn't any medical or cost justification for subjecting a patient to the risks of a PET scan without a more definitive reason than previously having cancer. You didn't just wait for the cancer to show up before she was first diagnosed, so why would you do that now? Be proactive by helping her get on with her life.

      almost 4 years ago

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