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Questions about scans


Joy Marie

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Mom will be finishing her chemo on Friday.  Then we'll have to face the dreaded 'scanxiety.' We will be speaking to get onc about this,  but I'm wondering will the scans be only in the primary affected lung area.  Or also maybe brain scans, liver, esophagus, home etc., as well.  Also, will she still have to have blood monitored?   Thanks.       Joy

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Joy Marie,

That is a good question. Scan coverage will at least extend to locations with know active disease. Generally doctors want to understand the effect of treatment on all known mets. 

However, after my 3rd line chemo treatment, my mid-treatment scan showed good shrinkage and consequently my doc ordered a full body CT. 

So it kind of depends on the situation.  Not a very precise answer but lung cancer has lots of variation. 

Stay the course. 

Tom

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Once i finished my chemo/radiation i have only had chest CT done, Number three coming up in eighteen days and twelve hours.  lol. I had brain scan after my pet scan early last year and prior to my treatment in March 2018

Bob

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Hi Joy,

To answer your question on blood work, every 3 months when I go see my med onc (which is after the CT scan and visit with rad onc), he orders the blood work.  Note, though, I'm on a targeted therapy, so I don't know if the blood lab monitoring is just for the drug's side effects, or if it's a standard thing for LC patients.

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Thanks everyone for your responses.  Tomorrow is mom's last day of chemo. We talked to her doctor today and he wants scans every 4 months for the coming 2 years.  After 3 years every 6 months.  And blood work, too. Though mom was diagnosed early PT1a pNO, and had surgery, her lung nodule was SCLC.  So the extra precaution will be taken.  Her brain MRI was negative but he did speak to us about getting the PCI of the brain just as precautionary .   Doc urged us to get more opinions on this as sometimes the side effects can cause a bit of brain damage, or dizziness, forgetfulness.  If anyone has opinions on PCI  that would be helpful as well.  Bottom line:  Doctor says mom's long term prognosis is 'excellent'.  We are very happy.       Joy

 

 

 

 

 

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Joy Marie,

The pattern of scans mirrors mine post treatment.  My last treatment was in March 2007 but I still see my oncologist two times a year and am scanned before one of those visits.  I'll likely see an oncologist for the rest of my life.

Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation (PCI) is preventative whole brain radiation to eliminate very small small cell lung cancer cells that may be present in the brain.  Unfortunately, small cell has a nasty habit of lodging in the brain and the radiation is designed to get the squatters before they can set up home.  The obvious benefit is eliminating any brain mets.  The downside is cognitive changes (temporary and sometimes permanent) and headaches that sometimes hang around for quite a while.  I've not had PCI but know a number of survivors who do.  Most I know show no symptoms.  One is bothered by short term memory loss and headaches.  He tolerates these as manageable considering the alternative - death.  It is a tough call but well worth thinking and talking about.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Thanks, Tom, for your usual great information.  PCI is nothing pending at the moment and doc did want us to speak to our PCP first and even will set up a meeting with a radiologist for us.  Mom's concern is that at age 70 she still teaches piano and doesn't want to suffer any permanent memory loss because of her students.  But doctor did say if any brain lesions are found in the future they can be zapped by SRBT.   Personally I think she should have it done, maybe not now but sometime this year.   Other opinions welcome!            Joy

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I always have to have blood work before my scans--I'm told it's to check kidney function because the contrast can harm the kidneys if certain levels are out of whack.  I've never had a problem, though.  

I don't have any input on the PCI--that's a pretty personal decision.that really only your mom can make.  

Glad to hear she's doing so well!

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Oh, and maybe your mom will appreciate this story:  When I was in high school, my mom accidentally slipped with a knife and cut her finger badly.  It was all bandaged up and one of my friends asked her what happened.  She explained, and then sadly said, "Unfortunately, I'll never be able to play the piano again."  My friend, concerned, said, "Oh, no!  That's terrible!  I'm so sorry!"  And my mom shrugged and said, "Not really, I was never able to play it before."

I got my twisted sense of humor from my mom.  :) 

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