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CT scans...how often did you have them?


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My mom is finishing up her 4 cycles of adjuvant chemo (carbo/gemzar) next week. She had no radiation. She has NSCLC stage IIIA s/p upper left lobectomy.

The oncologist is recommending her next scan in 3 months in April, then every 6 months. I asked about more frequent scans to catch any possible cancer activity, but he laughed me off and told me that no scan is gonna improve her survival no matter what. He said scans more often than 6 months is pointless except for causing more unneccessary anxiety for my mom. I found him rude and insensitive, but mom is unwilling to change doctors.

What has been your experience? Following the first round of chemo, how often did you have CT scans?

Thanks again for your input!

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I had a lobectomy in September and started adjuvant chemo in December. The surgeon told me I would get a chest x-ray every 3 months for the first 2 years and every 6 months for the following 3 years. I finally convinced the oncologist to alternate between x-ray and CT scan. I asked if there was more that could be done to detect a recurrance earlier, and received the same response as yourself.

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Yes her doctor does appear to be rude, but he does have a point. Just didn't word it right. :roll:

I had chest x-ray first 3 months, then CT scan 6 months, then x-ray 9 months, CT scan 12 months, for the first three years after finishing treatments.

Some doc's will not push for CT scans but will rather do x-rays. My Pulm doc insisted I have a CT scan every 6 months for the first 5 years and that's what we did.

Best of luck.

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I had a ct scan every 6 months and an x-ray at the 3 month interval between ct scans after my 2 surgeries. This tracking schedule was sufficient to find my second tumor and a year later my third tumor when they were about 1 cm in size. At that time, we were just doing follow-up after surgery. Since my third cancer, I have had a PET/CT scan every 3 months, in order to track the effectiveness of treatment.

Don M

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I had chest x-ray every three months for the first two years and then annually after that. Now, my hospital has a new protocol and I have a CT every year rather than the x-ray.

I was actually comfortable with the x-ray, knowing that my surgeon had previous films to compare. I also don't much care for the excess radiation I'm getting from the CT scans and the extra time involved, what with setting the IV and all.

I know it's a more detailed study, but i worry about the radiation as I've already had radiation therapy to my chest for breast cancer.

Nonetheless, it's once a year for me now after two years of every three months. I do believe that's standard for my stage.


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Dear Hope-

I agree, that onc is rude!!! A CAT scan will show if there is any progession so they can catch it early - so it would change survivial rates if they could change chemos!!

I am Stage IV and I get a CAT scan just short of every 3 months ( I do three cycles 21 days apart and then a CAT scan). This is to catch any progession so they know if they need to change my chemo. I am sure, what with me being Stage IV, that they expect progression periodically and want to catch it right away.

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CT every 3 months. if all is clear for a year than 6 then once a year.

Unfortunately, they are watching a nodule so right now its 3 months. Even though the radiogologist put in his notes next CT should be 6 months. But with Joel's record they decided 3 instead of the 6.

As you see it varies...

Maryanne :wink:

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