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What test do they perform after a total hysterectomy for uterine cancer

Stabler
Posts: 49
Joined: Feb 2013

I am 55 and was slightly bleeding and so I had an ultrasound done.  My gynecologist said I had a thick uterine lining and performed a D & C on me, where she discovered I had uterine cancer.  She said it was a slow growing cancer and that she was going to send me to an Oncologist/Gynecologist.

I had a total hysterectomy.  They removed everything including lymph nodes on Dec 31st.  The surgery was performed using the da Vinci robot.  I had an amazing Oncologist/Gynecologist.  I was up and walking a couple hours after surgery and went home the following morning.  I only took pain meds at night to help me sleep.  After a week and a half I went back for a checkup and results.  My doctor said I could not ask for better results.  The cancer had not spread, all the blood work came back clear, the lymph nodes were all clear and he said we caught it in the earliest of earliest stages and that it was only between 10% - 15% invasive and was all contained.  He said, "you are cancer free."  He said I did not need any further treatment, no chemo or radiation but that he would be checking me out every month to make sure everything remains good. 

What I want to know is, what kind of testing will he do now.  Will it be a pap smear?  Blood work?  What.

cared1027
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2012

I'm not sure about monthly checkups but my condition was similar to yours with very early cancer and no additional treatment was recomended after the hysterectomy last April.  I now see the gyn/oncologist every 3 months.  The checkup involves an internal exam and pap. Additionally, I have CA-125 blood test which is not necessarily the norm but my oncologist wanted to follow it even though he advised it is not always reliable.

Stabler
Posts: 49
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you for answering.  My gyn/oncologist said he wanted check me every month for ahwile, then every three months and then he said as long as everything stayed the same it would be once a year.

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2334
Joined: Jun 2010

July 1, 2013  will be 3 years since my surgery.  I had a similar dx and surgery as you describe.  After all healed from the surgery, I had exams every 4 months until I reached the 2 year mark.  Now my exams are at 6 months.  I wonder how many women just stop having checks on their own when they reach this point.  I don't think "they" will say it's ok until 5 years, but lately I've been sort of tossing around skipping an appontment here and there.   I'm just tired of it all and I truly don't believe it will rear its ugly head again.  I believe it was all removed at surgery.  I did worry for the first 2 years, but now. . .. not so much.   

It's normal to fret and worry that not enough is being done, but the longer you have the "all clear" reports, the more comfortable you will become with it.   I have never had a CA-125.  I don't think I had one prior to surgery and know I haven't had one since because my dx did not warrant it.  I also never had a CT scan prior to surgery nor after.  I used to worry about that, too.  After a while (only recently) I decided it should have been reassuring that it wasn't warranted.

Ah, hindsight.  May you get to the point of hindsight.    I will continue with exams as instructed for as long as instructed.   I just find it interesting that I now entertain the idea of not having them when less than a year ago I was still worrying about the what ifs. 

Suzanne

Stabler
Posts: 49
Joined: Feb 2013

I am so happy for you.  I will keep you in my prayers and thoughts.  I don't know if I will ever get to that point.  I hope I do.   I heard that if it comes back it's withing the first couple of years.  It's just the waiting and wondering that's tough.  The worst thing I did before my surgery was look up uterine cancer on the internet.  Have you ever heard, "Too much information"?  I would read stories about symptoms and about women feeling pain and bloating and then I would sit and think, "am I in pain?".  I think I was getting phantom pain.  Even now (it's only been six weeks} I stop and think, is it growing back? Can I feel it?  What is this twinge?   My doctor told me that he truly believed that the surgery took care of it and that I didn't need to worry.  My first exam after surgery is Monday.  I think I'll probably feel better after I get the first all clear,

Ruffy7
Posts: 126
Joined: Sep 2011

That is so true!  I haven't quite hit the 2 year mark but I do find myself getting tired of this and thinking that is it and it will never come back.  My onc even said once that people get "bored" with doing all the follow-ups.  I'm like you though - I will keep doing them on schedule just to be sure.

Also, Stabler, we were all where you are now.  You will get to this point too - it just takes time and several "all clear" follow-ups.  Hang in there!

 

nancibee's picture
nancibee
Posts: 50
Joined: Sep 2012

Quote from an email I received tonight from my gyn/oncologist - 

 

"Yes, women with cervical cancer who have their cervix removed still need pap smears. Since your cancer started in the uterus and not the cervix, you will no longer need pap smears."

 

Although, I guess an annual PAP wouldn't do any harm though.

 

 

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1213
Joined: Nov 2009

Mine was in the uterus and I am advised to have annual PAP Smears - actually I have one every six months when I go for the check-ups.

I used to get a CT, PET or a type of scan yearly, but the insurance company has changed the guidelines so I do not get that anymore unless something comes up.

 

Stabler
Posts: 49
Joined: Feb 2013

I had my first checkup and my oncologist told me everything was great and that I healed very nicely.  He said that I will have a pap test every 3 months for 2 years and then every 6 months until I hit the 5 year mark, then it will just be once a year.  I asked him if it came back what the treatment would be.  He said he would then zap it with radiation and that would take care of it.  He then told me that with results like mine (pathology report) he did not see it coming back.  He said he has never had a patient with results like mine have their cancer return, but that is why he is going to check me frequently just to make sure it doesn't happen and that we catch it early if it does.  I couldn't ask for a better doctor.  From the day I met him he put my mind at ease and was very reassuring.  He explains everything and shows pics of what he will do and puts everything in simple term that are easy to understand.  I had family members and a friend with me and he made sure they understood everything and answerd any questions or concerns anyone had. 

nancibee's picture
nancibee
Posts: 50
Joined: Sep 2012

I have an alternating visit schedule every 3 months. I saw my oncologist last week and will see my gyn/oncologist in May. Then back to my oncologist in August. They each do their own thing. The oncologist runs blood work and checks my abdomen and lungs. The gyn/onc runs a CA-125 and does a vaginal exam. She says she will be happy to order a CT scan if I am very stressed so much that it may promote a recurrence but recommends against it because the high level of radiation can do more harm than good.  

I told my oncologist that I am not so much worried about my cancer returning as I am about catching the recurrence in the early stages. His response was that I've done all of the hard work with surgery, chemo and radiation and the point was now to go on with my life and stop dwelling on the possibility of recurrence. Good advice. He did advise me to get my scheduled mammogram even though I just recently finished chemo.

Stabler
Posts: 49
Joined: Feb 2013

I am so glad you are doing well.  My life has changed so much since being diagnosed with cancer, even tho I had great results.  I live each and every day to the fullest and the little things that used to upset me I no longer let them bother me. My oncologist told me that the cancer I had was the very slow growing kind, so I'm sure that if it does return (which he says is highly unlikely) we would catch it in the early stages.  May we both continue to get great reports.  God Bless

 

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