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How often should you have scans?


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My mum's last scan was at the beginning of August. There was only tiny remaining bit which originally the doctor said could be inflammation or remaining cancer cells. My mum had problems with that doctor so she switched. Her new doctor (who is far more experienced) saw her scan and said that there's nothing there and the remaining tiny speck is inflammation and that she's NED. I don't know when my mum's next scan is, but from your experience how often did you have scans at the beginning and whilst still undergoing treatment (my mum is on immunotherapy)? 

It's been five months since the last scan. Should she be getting scanned more often than this? I'm nervous about her next scan. Scanziety is horrible. Can a lot change in a few months?

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1 hour ago, Rower Michelle said:

Here in the US the scan standard is typically every three months.  I have labs every six weeks and a brain MRI every six months.  

Michelle: I assume the 3 month interval is for CT scans. Do you or anybody else know  the frequency for PT scans? tnx.

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PET scans (with private health insurance) can be used to asses if there’s a recurrence.  My mother is on Medicare and has PET scans every three months.  There’s a fair amount of discussion between oncologists as to which scan is “better”.  Some prefer CT scans while others can make an argument for PET.  PET scans can light up for reasons than cancer such as injury/inflammation or infection.  
 

For me the scenario might look like this: CT scan for routine monitoring.  If anything looks suspicious then liquid biopsy and maybe tissue biopsy followed by a PET scan.  
 

Personally I prefer the CT scans cause I’m on the frequent flier list in and out in less than 15 minutes.  

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I should have specified what scans. My mum had a PET scan in August which showed she was NED. She had two CT scans in September and October to do with immunotherapy and pneumonitis. They showed inflammation (from pneumonitis) and the scan following treatment of the pneumonitis showed improvement. How often should you have PET scans?

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Ah, PET scans are pretty infrequent and generally not part of the monitoring process. Some of my friends haven’t had one in years because they are NED.  
 

In the beginning I worried about “what if they are missing” something.  Now that I have much greater confidence in my oncologist I go with what he recommends.  

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Thanks Michelle. Yes I read that it's not good to have PET scans too often, only really if the CT scan shows something concerning and the doctors want to follow it up. I always thought that PET scans were more superior. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/29/2020 at 8:22 AM, catlady91 said:

I should have specified what scans. My mum had a PET scan in August which showed she was NED. She had two CT scans in September and October to do with immunotherapy and pneumonitis. They showed inflammation (from pneumonitis) and the scan following treatment of the pneumonitis showed improvement. How often should you have PET scans?

In almost six years, I've only had one Pet scan, which was at the time of my diagnosis.  I have all CT scans for routine screenings.  Pet scabs are also far more costly so many insurers won't approve them.  I'm actually fine with having CT scans only and it's actually what my doctor prefers.  If a time may ever come when I have progression I would think then they would do an update PET scan but at this point I see no need for it.

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