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Are you being watched for other kinds of cancers?


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Just back from a colonoscopy, I am wondering if you other early stagers are being watched carefully for other cancers. I realize that I'm in slightly different situation than most of the rest of you, having had breast cancer two years before the lung cancer.

But, it seems that I will be forever in the 'because of your history' mode with my physicians. Not complaining, I am glad to get cooperation and screening for all the other kinds of cancers with no trying to convince the doctors that I need these tests.

But, I am watched very carefully for colon cancer because according to my physician, there is a loose connection between breast and colon. So, I am on the every five year plan with that. Had my first one at 50, and even with no problems with the first one, the second one had to be at 5 years later rather than 10 'because of my history.'

So, I know that we all get our scans and chest xrays routinely now, but what other routine tests do you all get 'because of your history?'


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Hi Cindy - I started having colonoscopies at age 41 as my mom is a colon cancer survivor. After the first time I had a space of 3 years and then they changed the protocol to every 5 years. So far, so good. While my sisters and I aren't crazy about the test (particularly the prep) we go faithfully. I didn't know about the association between colon and lung cancer - interesting. My family history seems to have a little of everything - different cancers, Alzheimers, depression, heart disease, still undiagnosed neurological issues (in dad) and so on ... I obviously don't get tested for all of those, but I certainly panic a little more (for instance when I forget something I wonder if I have Alzheimers) as I age.

Also, after my lung cancer diagnosis, they now do mammography once a year. As I have fibrocystic breasts, I usually also get an ultrasound for certain things they can't discern on mammogram. I guess that is definitely something that changed "because of my history".

One thing that used to drive me crazy was one of my docs (group of them work together) used to think EVERYTHING was cancer after my diagnosis - if my shoulder was sore, before anything was tested or looked at, he was sure it was mets and the cancer had returned. It turns out I have tears in both rotator cuffs - not cancer. I had many a tearful visit with my surgeon about the fears this guy instilled in me. Anyhow, he was definitely a downer and while I appreciate I have a history, I couldn't deal with the fact that he scared me everytime I even had a cold or the flu. However, another in that group was the opposite end of the spectrum who was of the belief that I could get hit by a bus tomorrow so there was no need to worry about anything. Anyhow, I changed to a different group of doctors when he wouldn't write the order for my yearly mammogram even though the radiologist who performed the mammogram stated clearly I was to have them every year. I now have a GP that has that happy medium that I need.

I take it your colonoscopy results were fine and you are good for another 5 years (never long enough to forget the prep unfortunately :) ).


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Hi Cindy and Linda,

My doctors are definitely on high alert for anything that is unusual in my health due to my dx. However, I've been screened very carefully for most of my life due to my family history. Brain, Breast, Bone and Lung cancer all have graced my immediate family. Sometimes I get so tired of them always checking up on me. I'd like to go a couple months in a row without seeing another doctor!

Judy in MI

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My oncologist hasn't suggested any other testing until recently. I get "scanned" every 6 months right now. I had some bad stomach issues so I had an upper GI and then at my Oncs suggestion and then I had some weird headaches so she said okay let's do an MRI (My first & last!!! - horrible thing). Then my OBGYN said I should have the 50th birthday present - - but my significant other had his first - - and I so enjoyed watching him do the prep - I have not called about doing that one yet and until I forget what he went through with the prep - I think I'm feeling pretty darn good and I will need another suggestion or two before I can see myself doing that - although he was fine the next day and I hope both of you were - but I'll wait a bit on that.


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I've had annual skin review since I was about 16 and anything biopsied was negative until last year - my first. So I still see my dermatologist annually - or sooner if there is something questionable. Potential side effect of taking alimta for lc? It may clear up pre-cancerous skin lesions!

With the latest on mammograms, my doc said, "up to you" if I wanted annual or every two years. On the other hand, the docs on Grace have suggested that screening for early detection of long term issues may not be so necessary for those with advanced lung cancer. Oh. They do say having had lung cancer makes you more at risk for other cancers, so for early stage lc, pro-active screening, within reason, seems like a good idea. Balance the radiation with the benefits.

Colonoscopy? Had one at 50, so I have another year and half to think about one, as long as I don't have symptoms that are of concern.

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I hadn't had a colonoscopy before my lung cancer diagnosis, so I got one afterwards. They found nothing even slightly wrong and said I was good for 10 years.

Besides, heart trouble is the bane of my family; no one ever gets cancer. :roll:

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Cindy!

I'm a bit late... :shock:

I think I watch myself for other kinds of cancers more than my doctor does.

I remember a couple of years after my surgery, I went for a bone scan because I had a big bump on the bone under my knee. The Orthopedic doctor told me that it was fine after the scan, and I apologized for taKing his time confessing that I was afraid I had become a bit of a hypochondriac. He said to me -- Deb, I read your file, and with your history of lung cancer, you NEED to be a hypochondriac. After that I had no apologies, ever, for anything I thought needed to be looked at.

On my Facebook account, I recently shared that I went for a PET scan. What I didn't share is the reason that I had it was because both my doctor and myself felt I needed to be checked - I have been feeling fatigued quite often, and that was the main symptom of how I found my cancer the first time around- I haven't felt this way in almost 8 years so it has been pretty scary. The bloodwork was fine so then we went for the PET. My PET came back clean, and NOW we can look at alternate reasons why I am so tired. But, of course, other cancers had to be ruled out first although I'm not sure my doctor would have suggested the PET, if I didn't mention the possibility of it to her first. That's why I think that I am more watchful than my doctor... she tends to not consider cancer related causes first and tends to keep my lung cancer in the past. I know better.

I still am of the mentality that my cancer surprised me once --- I'm going to be proactive in finding it if it comes back and catching it early again. This is life and death and procrastination doesn't give second chances.

Great topic Cindy! :)

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Hi Cindy -

Stephanie said that

the docs on Grace have suggested that screening for early detection of long term issues may not be so necessary for those with advanced lung cancer.

That is pretty much what my doctors have all said. When I asked about having a mammogram, my doctor said "I wouldn't worry about it." For awhile I kind of went along, but just recently went ahead and scheduled a mammogram. Since they can't tell me exactly how long I will live, I decided I would prefer to be proactive. I had a colonoscopy before I was dx this last time, so am not yet due - but if I am still doing well when that time comes, I would still prefer to err on the side of caution.


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