• Three month checkup

    Asked by Debbie on Monday, February 25, 2013

    Three month checkup

    Had first appointment with oncologist since chemo ended. They said I'm cancer free based on their protocols of the surgery, chemo and radiation treatments I received. BUT they don't do tumor markers or scans or any type of testing. I know there isn't a magic test or wand but I'm afraid to believe. It's hard for me to have complete faith in "protocols". I know I should be happy, happy, happy but I'm hesitant. Somebody smack some sense into me please !

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I had bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, chemo for 6 sessions and did not need radiation. Two weeks after I finished chemo I had a CT scan of my abdomen and chest, and also an MRI of my brain. All scans were clear so now I just get blood work every other month and I am supposed to let my doctors know if I feel pain lasting more than a week, or feel sick lasting longer than usual. Then we will investigate.
      I am not sure what the protocol is where you have been treated, but from what I understand, scans are done at the end of treatment and if all is clear, no scans are done unless something is amiss.
      If you don't feel comfortable with what your oncologist told you, talk to him/her and ask for scans if you want to.

      over 3 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      Not sure how they were able to tell you that you're cancer free without a CT or PET scan. I'd start asking some questions if I were you. You can't just give someone chemo and then say "ok, you're all done". That makes absolutely no sense.

      over 3 years ago
    • Terry15's Avatar

      Seventh chemo of 8 tomorrow. I have already had two PET scans with the second showing tumors reduced in size but some markers in bone marrow. Will also have another bone marrow after chemo is done in March as well as weekly blood work, appts with doc every three months and PET scans each 6 months. Ask more questions and ask for tests to prove protocol did its job. Good luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      You are in a new life of living as a cancer survivor, you will get comfortable with the idea that you are cancer free but it takes a while to accept. I compare it to PTSD you have been in a war with your own body, the battle is over but it takes a while to relax. Your emotional mind is still worried about the hidden enemy that might be waiting to strike. This is normal and will get easier to cope with. When you are no longer in active treatment its a shock, you still need to heal both your body and mind. Let yourself cry, rest and laugh. Give it time. Tracy

      over 3 years ago
    • megdodge's Avatar
      megdodge (Best Answer!)

      Hi Debbie, I know how you feel. I was treated in 2012 for stage 2b infiltrating ducal carcinoma. I finished chemo in sept and radiation in late nov. I was also told that any scans would give me a false negative because if the cancer had spread, it would be too small for a scan to pick up. I was told to consider myself cancer free. It's hard to believe with the technology we have there isn't a test out there. In any event I choose to go with the cancer free option and try to stay positive knowing I did everything I could. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and hope you also remain "cancer free".

      over 3 years ago
    • Debbie's Avatar

      Thanks everyone. It eases my mind that others have been in the same situation. I am so grateful for this site and everyone who's willing to share. Again, thanks!

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear Debbie,

      I know it's difficult because you're getting conflicting responses from everyone on the site-sometimes this can be a great thing, sometimes not so good because it doesn't put you at ease. Let me just say (I'm a Medical Librarian [retired], the ex-wife of a physician [doesn't offer much in the way of credentials, but sometimes it's useful] as well as the Mom of a Paramedic/Nursing student who's looking toward pre-med) that each hospital has its' own protocols and ways of doing things.

      You need to have faith in the hospital you're using. You always of course (and it sometimes makes great sense) to seek a 2nd and sometimes a 3rd opinion from another institution (hopefully you're lucky enough to live close to another good one)!!

      What I went through, because of my age, diagnosis, hormone status, genetic status, etc. may not make sense for you and neither does what anyone else here went through. You're unique and you chose the institution and surgeon, oncologist, and radiologic oncologist you chose. There's no cookie cutter approach and you unfortunately may sense that from people's responses (most of us aren't medical professionals or didn't work with them). I.e., some of us re reconstruction had expanders implanted and will finish surgery a few months later, some of us had implants put in at the time of mastectomy and some of us just had a mastectomy and weren't reconstructed at that time, but will be several months later. There's no right (underline right) answer here!

      My best advice would be to go get that second opinion if it isn't too much trouble. You'll sleep better at night.

      Wishing you a serene, and healthy recovery,

      over 3 years ago

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