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Follow up and monitoring


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I have a question - my FIL had his last chemo on 12/21 and just finished up his radiation.

He is seeing the surgeon today for a follow up, and apparently he told them that they will be doing x-rays before he sees them.

I am just wondering at what point do they do a follow up Cat Scan or Pet scan or don't they do that unless there is some indication of problems?

We are most concerned with making sure that there is no cancer moving through his lymph nodes-they did surgery to remove the tumor, but it had spread into the lymph nodes, and I don't know how you monitor that??


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My mom just had her first followup CT scan yesterday after her first 6 chemos (taxol) and before she begins her radiation just to see where things stood and how she was responding. I am surprised the doctor hasn't done one at all in your case. I am new to this, but makes me think that there may not be standard "rules" for followup testing. Will be nice to see what the more seasoned folks say.


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My mom gets one every 4-6 weeks. This is possibly because she hasn't done any chemo other than tarceva, and they are monitoring the progression (trying to make decisions on whether or not to do chemo and when).

Remember, you can always ask any question. Call the dr. if you are curious!

:) Kelly

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I always worry about this as well. I want them to keep tabs on my moms tumor, especially since it started to grow again after her chemo ended.

My mom had a scan on the last day of Dec that showed growth. She was then sent for a USELESS 2nd opinion which delayed her treatment a few weeks

She started a new chemo back in the end of Jan I guess. Her 3rd treatment will be this Thursday. She is scheduled for a scan very soon...I think next week

So....that will be about 2 1/2 months (9 weeks or so) between scans

Too long for my liking

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My surgeon did a contrast x-ray after my radiation and chemo were done (DEC 05). But it had only been a couple of weeks. My Chemo ONC said that she wouldn't use the contrasting x-ray and that she would order a PET later which is now the first part of April. I remember my Radiation ONC saying that the chemo and radiation continue to work for months after you have finished and that taking x-rays or cat or pet scans weren't as useful as waiting a few months to see the results. Not sure if this helps, but prayers for your FIL.


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Hi Darci

In the last 7-1/2 months since diagnosis, I've had one chest ray (hospital ER), 2 CT scans and 4 PET scans, not to mention the scans that were taken daily during 35 sessions of rad therapy and one more PET scan to be scheduled in late April. Can't even begin to say if that's too many, too few, or just right. I just have to trust my doc until he steers me wrong.


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Now I'm getting concerned. I hope more people stop in to shed some light on Darci's question

I dont want to hijack your thread Darci, but the timing of tests is something that has concerned me as well. I cant ever seem to get a set answer to this! I know everyones treatment is different...but shouldnt there be SOME kind of standard. Just so patients know whether or not they are getting the best treatment available?

I spoke with my mom this morning. I was wrong. She gets an X-ray tomorrow, not a catscan. Her next scan wont be for a while longer. I'm thinking she said 'months' as in plural!! Like not til May or something

Her last one was in late Dec. If this current treatment isnt working, isnt that giving the cancer much too long a time to grow unchecked?

Anyone know if there is a standard in timing for scans?

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I guess that since every person and every cancer and every case is a little different, there can't be a set standard?

I did talk to my MIL last night, and she said that she thinks that the next time he sees the onc that he is doing a cat scan - just chest xray yesterday. Our case may be different in that the original tumor(s) were removed, so they are not doing scans to monitor tumor size?

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For my husband it is every 3 months. His original tumor one and only primary was also removed in March 2005.

He has been on chemo since July with a 3 month break in October to Jan. He had 3 CT/PET since July 2005 and schedule again next week, for the 4th time 3/13/06. I'm not sure if it's standard but I would difinitely ask the onc why so long of a wait to test?

I wouldn't wait too long myself, no no no, not here I don't think.

God Bless.


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Hi Darci,

In my case, I had surgery, chemo, and then follow-up x-rays and visits with my surgeon every three months for 2 years. I first got the x-ray and then my visit with the surgeon was an hour later and the digitized x-ray was viewed by him before our visit.

Between that x-ray and the extensive list of questions regarding general physical condition, he determined that everything was ok, and that went on for two years.

Now, I do the same thing, except only once a year, and with the advice that I'm to contact him with any questions or problems.

I have never had a PET except for the first one during the diagnosis stage. I also only had one CT scan during all this, and that was during the diagnosis stage.

Remember, too much radiation can cause cancer too, and doctors have to be cautious with that for survivors. I read in CURE magazine that a CT scan gives a person the amount of radiation they would get in 3 years of just walking around. That's a lot of exposure.

Hope this helps.


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