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Scans- how often and which ones?


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Happy Sunday everyone!

I just finished up week 3 of my targeted therapy and had labs drawn and met with the NP on Friday. Labs were great and she was impressed at the shrinkage of my lymph nodes , so much that she ran and told my oncologist so he came for a feel at my neck while I was checking out. Finally a good news appt!

I was asking the NP about the next steps with the scans. She said we will scan at the 3 month mark which is July and it will be a CT scan of my diaphragm up to my neck bc that is where the cancer is. She said that if in the future we have reason to scan other parts we will and that there probably won’t be another PET scan for awhile bc insurance only approves so many and we don’t want to run out.

 Does this sound right to you? I’m not sure I’m comfortable with only getting CT scans of my cancerous area. With Stage 4 I feel we should be on top of any spreading. She of course said if I wanted a CT scan of other areas as piece of mind that they  would not tell me no. I plan to ask my oncologist the same questions when I meet with him in a month at next lab draws.

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My scans (after Stage IV diagnosis) were for chest plus abdomen/pelvis. I assume that's because I had an already-identified met on my sacrum, which they were following.

I'm not sure having other areas scanned would provide more helpful information. If the cancer progresses, you're likely to see it on the already-identified areas first, I believe. IOW, I don't think it's likely you'd have some met turn up in your liver or adrenal glands or bone without seeing progression in your chest, first.

I'm no expert and you should ask your doc, but that's my understanding. I always wanted a new PET-CT but my oncologist said there was no point. And sure enough, when the cancer progressed, a few weeks later there were a couple of new bone mets and spots on my liver, but those really weren't visible on the CT scans that showed the progression. They turned up when I had a PET-CT in connection with this trial I'm doing.

Oh, and congrats on the great results so far--that's awesome!!

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Congratulations on your treatment response so far! That's great news. 

Medicare has approved PET/CT scans for me from skull to mid-thigh every 3 months so far. But I understand that Canada only approves one PET scan in a lifetime! So, many people get only CT scans throughout the course of treatment. But it doesn't hurt to question your oncologist about scans. 

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