• What to ask at three month check up?

    Asked by Debbie on Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    What to ask at three month check up?

    I haven't received any information from surgeon, radiologist or oncologist about what/when/how after treatment is finished. I see other breast cancer survivors have blood work, scans, tumor markers info, etc. After the last chemo, my oncologist just said "go live your life". I see him 2/28 for 3 month check up. Are there standard test/follow up schedules? What can I do to prepare?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      Seems like every doc is different. Mine see me every three months. I am asked a battery of questions about new pain and so on. I have no bloodwork and no scans. I had a triple negative tumor, and there's pretty much no bloodwork that can detect recurrence... Scans are performed if I have symptoms of a recurrence or symptoms of metastatic disease. So far, so good. I am one week from ONE YEAR since the last bit of treatment (double mastectomy - I had neoadjuvant chemo).

      So, I guess the questions I suggest you ask are:
      How long am I on the once-every-three-month plan?
      What scans are appropriate (if you have breast tissue, mammos and MRIs may be the right answer)?
      What bloodwork is appropriate?
      What should I be on the look out for (i.e., when should I call and make an appointment)?

      If you have any remaining side effects from chemo (if you had chemo) or surgery or rads (if you had rads), then ask those questions as well.

      You should leave the appointment with a clear idea of how the next few years will go.

      If you have questions about the risk of recurrence, you can also ask those questions.
      If you are taking a hormone therapy drug, you might have questions about those meds and their potential side effects etc...

      I hope that helps.
      Sorry you have to deal with all of this - but congrats on making it to the end of treatment!

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Nope, nothing standard and nothing for you to prepare. Ask whatever questions are on your mind, such as those you have asked here.....i.e. any following tests or additional treatment planned?

      over 5 years ago
    • Queen_Tatiana's Avatar

      I am hoping that my husabnd (Peroll) will see this and answer. When he sees his oncologist he takes in his tablet which he has many questions on to ask--of course pre-tablet days he used a pen and paper :) He goes through every single question on his list, and since I am usually with him I too have a few of my own questions with regard to his care or other concerns I have over things I've noticed and perhaps my husband is brushing off as nothing (and they usually are, but I still like to ask). More questions always come up during the visit and those are addressed by the oncologist as well.

      over 5 years ago
    • SDomiano's Avatar

      I DIDN'T HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS, I went in for my check up and he wanted to do a PET Scan with this they can see if there is cancer any where in the body, I had it done and they saw it had spreed to my liver. I say ask for a PET Scan...

      over 5 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Debbie, Your oncologisdt will likely at least draw blood at your visit. Since your cancer is stage II apparetly with no signs that it has spread you may not get scans but just blood work. Scans would be normal with stage III or IV cancer. You can study for the blood test but that usually doesn't help. When you go in for your visit you should ask what the protocall from now on is. He will tell you but it appears that you are at least in remission and possibly cured. I know there will always be the worry that the cancer will come back but at this point the advice to "go live your life" is probably the right thing. Congratulations and good luck!!!

      over 5 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      Prepare a list of all of your questions and concerns -- have it in hand during appointment. If I did not have my list, I know that I would have forgotten something and would have fretted about it later. Always remember, every question or concern is legitimate for you and your peace of mind. Ask him about his follow-up plan and his reasoning. If further testing will give you peace of mind, request it -- this is your life and you have every right to be informed and to have input. Good Luck

      over 5 years ago
    • Xmom7's Avatar

      I have my 3 month check up on 2/27, with the radiology oncologist. I will have to start writing some ??s for the medical oncologist, that is on 4/4 and the breast surgeon on 4/8. I haven't had any other testing done, since I finished radiation 1/23. I remember her telling me that my body should rest, before any other testing might be done. I had double lumpectumy left side cancer, right side calcium build up precaustionay 11/20. No cancer in lymph nodes. ER and PR positive.

      over 5 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      Hi Deb. My oncologist said the same thing to me. I just had my first 3mo check up in January. They did do a blood work up, but that was mostly to review liver and kidney function, etc. She is also keeping a check on my Vitamin D level via the bloodwork. Mine had been low, so as a result they prescribed 1000iu daily. They also make sure all the blood counts were ok. I was also stage II. Since I had the left mastectomy only, I was also asked to get a mammo of my right side (it had been 1 yr from my last one anyway). I also mentioned that I still had some tenderness on left from surgery and radiation, etc. They want you to tell them of any pains,etc. you know your body better than anyone. She examined me very well and said she felt some scar tissue, and just to be safe we had it ultrasounded. It was clear. She also set me up to see my breast surgeon to examine me. I did that as well, and she also said all was good. The Ultrasound won't show scar tissue, but it would show any tumors or masses and there was nothing. I even asked the ultrasound technician and radiologist go all around my chest bone and all.
      So, that is how mine went. No pet scan unless there was cause to believe there was some masteses. So, this is a normal and common approach to our stage. Just make sure to pay attention to your own body and let your oncologist know of any concerns you may have.

      over 5 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      If you feel you want a scan, ask for a scan. A good oncologist will listen to your fears. Mind you scans can lead to false positives, so you could be looking at biopsies and extra stress for nothing. My second oncologist (a female in her early 30s) was very positive and supportive of her patients. She did not measure tumor markers, said for BC it makes no sense (my first onc, old school, was doing it throughout treatment, the markers went up, and that's just an artifact of treatment that managed to scare the living day,iChat's out of me).

      over 5 years ago

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