• Thinking of Cancelling Appointment with Oncologist - How Many Years is Enough?

    Asked by IKickedIt on Thursday, April 5, 2018

    Thinking of Cancelling Appointment with Oncologist - How Many Years is Enough?

    After 5 years, my oncologist said that he no longer needed to see me, but I have continued to go (he's a wonderful person and I truly enjoy talking with him). However, I'm starting to think that it might be time to cut those apron strings. I get very nervous and a bit stressed going there and having all those memories surface again.

    I keep up on all my screenings and bloodwork. From a colon cancer point of view, I never produced the cancer marker, CEA, so it has never been useful to test for that. So, it's usually just a conversation about how I'm feeling and talking about all the permanent damage I still have.

    At what point do you say enough is enough and stop the annual visits with your oncologist?

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I definitely understand hesitating to cut the strings, but it might be good for your mental health not to go back.

      Congratulations!!!

      12 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I quit going to mine when I got the idea that they were just running me through the motions to collect the fee from my insurance. The oncologist that was following me after I had moved away from the one that treated me, was in a hurry, and literally told me that he couldn't make a living on people "like me" and "my kind of insurance". So, that was my last visit. I just started going to my PC when I had anything happening that was suspicious. Now, after I've had 3 Dx's, I go once a year but they actually do something. They scope me and look at the spot where the malignant tonsil. I will continue going to her.

      12 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Wow, @GregP_WN. That would have been my last visit, too!!!! How rude!

      12 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I am five years out and my oncologist said that I needed scans and blood work once a year as I am stage IV, I also need to have the esophagus stretched about every two years as I have a problem with scar tissue. my gyn-oncologist says I will need a PAP-smear once a year and a pelvic exam. Now if I were staying in the system my PCP could take over all these procedures. But I am moving so I don't know what will happen. I just hope I can find a good PCP

      12 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      I'm wondering that too. In October, I will be a six year survivor. And I am finally at once a year appointments. But my doctor is retiring in June and I have to pick another one from the practice. So I am wondering if I should or just stop going. I just don't know.

      12 months ago
    • merpreb's Avatar
      merpreb

      Greg, how did you not sue?

      12 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      @merpreb, probably because it was 20 or so years ago and I wasn't as old and cranky as I am now. I did tell them that they didn't have to worry about me anymore then because I can get my blood pressure checked and weight at the clinic at home and not have to drive 80 miles for this. These days I wouldn't have been so nice.

      12 months ago
    • merpreb's Avatar
      merpreb

      Good!! I can't imagine and medical person responding this way. It made me furious to read. :)

      12 months ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      If you like just going and talking and checking keep it up.
      IF NOT just get back to your life as if you do not have cancer....and you probably don't. You can still help others by coming here and to other support groups but may even want to stop that...
      SO who the heck knows...You are Doing Great and keep it up. I never went to an Onc. as I was too scared and although I did have Rads on my Sciatic Nerve I turned down Chemo/Retuxin and that kind of stuff....Just live Right Here Right Now and you can't go wrong as that is all we really have anyway.

      12 months ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Permanent damage my Aunt Petunia.

      Perhaps 5 years past time to start finding ways to alleviate that residual damage?

      Yesterday is over. Time to use today to make better tomorrows.

      Best wishes

      12 months ago
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      Since your CEA isn't diagnostic for you, have you considered being followed by a board-certified colorectal surgeon who offers patients at higher risk more frequent colonoscopies and just follow you in general? My surgeon offers this service. Sees you once a year, palpates your groin and liver area for lymph nodes and tenderness, and becomes your go-to person if any symptoms appear.

      12 months ago
    • Annebal's Avatar
      Annebal

      I guess I don't understand the question. Did your oncologist tell you that after 5 years you would not need further visits? I had breast cancer and take an estrogen blocker so I want to have my labs. I am in my 10th year so I have an appt this month and my last will be in Nov when I come off the med.

      I don't think it's an insurance scam; it's about doing everything necessary to keep me cancer free! I know cancer can come back, but I want them to do everything possible to hold it off.

      12 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      The first three years I was seeing the oncologist, the radiation doctor and my surgeon. The radiation doc retired and after seeing the new guy once, I didn't bother going back. And then I got sick with something else and didn't return to the surgeon after that. So I'm just seeing the oncologist and he is retiring. I may just stay with the yearly appointment and hope for the best. I do think three cancer doctors plus my general doctor and my ob is too many doctors.

      12 months ago
    • Annebal's Avatar
      Annebal

      Gottcha! Have you done research on protocols on your cancer follow-ups?

      12 months ago
    • Jayne's Avatar
      Jayne

      Great question and one with no concrete answer! I finally hit my 5 year NED (originally diagnosed in 2005) and decided to work with my PCP for surveillance. My Onc retired since I do rely on my CEA levels, my PCP could do that. I believe this is a personal comfort issue: if you feel more comfortable seeing your Onc, do it!

      12 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Remember that people do get cancer after 5 years or even after 10 years. No matter who orders it, continue with your tests with someone.

      BoiseB, although a PCP can do a pelvic exam, I've always heard that your PAP smear is only as good at finding cancer as the doctor who takes it---(their eyesight and judgment).

      11 months ago
    • alivenwell's Avatar
      alivenwell

      I intend on getting my colonoscopies even though I was told I could wait two years. Had I not had the first colonoscopy encouraged by a person at a health seminar, I probably would have skipped it because of my busy lifestyle. I was late by ONE year. Maybe they want to wait a little longer to make sure it definitely came back. I had all other cancer screenings. They were ok.

      10 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Alivenwell,
      If you didn't have polyps at your most recent colonoscopy or any other red flags, they extend the time you can go until your next colonoscopy. The idea is to catch colon cancer early before it spreads, so be sure to go back when they say to.

      10 months ago

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