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How soon for first CT scan?

Shelley (MLC)

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Hi, my mother had her first chemo treatment today. She is on a 3 week cycle of carbo/gemzar for 4-6 cycles total. Her Dr. told us that he would order a CT after the 4th cycle to see how well the treatment was working. I thought I had read (perhaps something on Dr. West's site) that CTs were done after 2 cycles. Is there a "normal" timeframe for this? Also, I am hoping that my mom will be interested in joining this site. She is on her computer all the time (emails) and I think she would benefit greatly being able to talk with everyone here. She doesn't seem to want to know any of the specifics at this time, so I am not pushing her. I read everything I can so that when she is ready, I will hopefully have some of the answers she is looking for. You have all been a source of hope for me and I'm sure she'd feel the same.


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There's nothing etched in stone, but I'd say the clear majority of oncologists will do a CT after 2 or 3 cycles, so somewhere in the 6 to 9 week range. If it's too early, there's a greater likelihood of not really being able to detect which direction things are going, even if there is a modest change (like watching grass grow). Too long, and patients are wasting time and energy and getting side effects from a treatment that isn't helping.

I and most of my colleagues will usually go 2 cycles, which for most chemo regimens in lung cancer is 6-8 weeks. Going longer isn't wrong, but my patients usually want some feedback ASAP as well.

-Dr. West

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