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CT scans...How many are too many

TreeHugger's picture
TreeHugger
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2007

Because of my history of leiomyosarcoma, primary in uterus and secondary in left lung, my oncologist is watching a lesion in my right lung which showed up in a CT in March but did not show up on a PET. I was told it probably was cancer, but was just too small to show up on the PET. I had another CT in June that showed no change, then another in September that showed the lesion had shrunk. He wants to do another CT at the end of November just to be sure. I'm thinking this is too much radiation too close together. I think I should wait 6 months since the thing is shrinking. What do I do? All opinions are welcome.

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: Apr 2003

I don't know if there is radiation in the CT scans. I have a rare cancer with many metastases and to keep track of all the tumors I have MRIs and CT scans. If all is well, no new tumors, old ones not growing, I have my tests every 6-9 months. When there are changes or if I had radiation treatment, I have tests every three months.

I have never thought about radiation from the tests, perhaps because I have been more concerned with the tumors. I trust my oncologist and if he says MRI and CT scan in three months, I do it. I don't get tests every three months for more than a year.

Tumors are funny sometimes. My mets in the lungs have shrunk and disappeared at one time and then reappeared again months later.

All cancers are different. If you are concerned about radiation, talk to your doctor.

All the best

TreeHugger's picture
TreeHugger
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2007

Thanks for responding....I understand that there is a tremendous amount of radiation in CT scans, but I appreciate your letting me know that your mets in your lungs have changed dramatically. No wonder my Dr. wants to do the CT's so close together. I just have to decide if I want to take the risk of future cancer coming from the test radiation, or find my mets in time enough to remove them easily.

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: Apr 2003

I am going to check about the radiation in CT scans with my oncologist next month when I see him. I don't know if there are other tests that can be used instead of the CT scans. In my case, I need the MRIs and CT scans to keep track of my tumors.

I don't know if you can get cancer from test radiation but I'll be asking my doc next month. I've been having radiation treatments, MRIs and scans since 1990. I have scar tissue from the radiation treatment, near the tumors treated but nothing else.

Many cancers, when diagnosed early, are treatable.

Hope you find the answers you need.
Take care

TreeHugger's picture
TreeHugger
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2007

Thanks, TereB for your time and interest. I have been talking about this with fellow cancer patients and they all agree with you....The risk of cancer from a lot of CT's is a concern, but it pales in comparison to the risk of not discovering a tumor's growth in time enough to handle it successfully....I think I'll compromise and have a CT scan in January. November was going to be only 2 months since my last one, and most people go at least 3 months between....I don't want to do this over the Holidays, so January sounds good to me since my last report was so good (tumor shrinking)....I am truly grateful that you have cared enough to respond to me. I hope you are doing well and feeling good. You will be in my prayers.

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: Apr 2003

I saw my oncologist yesterday and I remembered you so I asked him about radiation in CT scans. Yes, there is some radiation in the CT scans but it is a very small amount and it is not likely to cause cancer.

Hope this helpes you.

TreeHugger's picture
TreeHugger
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2007

TereB Thank you for remembering me and my concerns....God bless you and keep you well.

branG
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2007

hi its brandi (brang) i emailed you about my mom
she has uterine leiomyosarcoma it has spread to her lungs pelvis and bone we just found out 2 weeks ago she had cancer shes a beautiful 50 year old mother and grandmother never sick a day
in her life she is now in the hospital has lost so much blood had 8 pints transfused sat. yesterday she had a port put in had radiation and started chemo shes in so much pain and has been in the last 3 weeks morphines not helping the drs. say she doesnt have much time it has spread everywhere . i cant take seeing her this way please pray for us her radiation will continue for 10 days shes so weak. write back my web page is under brang

tex.survivor
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2007

I have been getting CT scans of my thorax, abdomen, and pelvis areas every 3 months for almost 4 years now to track the status of my apendix cancer, with mets to other areas, primarily the lungs (both lobes).

While there is considerable radiation involved in the scans, most oncologists view the possible benefits of being able to track and start treatment as soon as possible usually outweigh the possible negative side effects of the additional radiation load on the body.

Just because it is shrinking now is no assurance that it could not start to grow again in the 3 month interim between the 3 months your oncologist suggests and the 6 months that you want. And if it should start to grow again, it could grow faster than it has, and could present treatment problems in the future or the course of your treatment.

Hope that this helps in you decision.

meharrison
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2009

I found out in April that I had appendiceal cancer and PMP. So glad to know you are well after 4 years. I met a lady last week who was diagnosed over 20 years ago and is currently 77 and doing great! I am hoping to be the same. I would love to hear all that you went thru. I had the debulking surgery and the heated intra-abdominal chemo and now Cts every 3 months. Still have some worrisome growths... going to Tufts in BOston next week for 2nd surgical opinion. thanks me

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