Mar 15, 2013 - 12:41 pm
At last week's visit with my med. oncologist prior to my last chemo session, I asked her about follow-up care. I had Stage 1, Nuclear Grade 2, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma with no spread to nodes. I did four rounds of T/C chemo. I had a lumpectomy, followed by a double mastectomy, which yielded wide and clear margins. So, no radiation needed.
My med. oncologist said that I would be on tamoxifen for at least five years. No surprise there. She said I would do follow-up visits first at three month increments, then at six month increments, then at one year increments, with blood draws each time. No surprise there either. What did surprise me was the lack of interest in doing any scans, MRIs, etc. When I asked about that, I was referred to the various breast cancer treatment "guidelines."
I'm really irked and disturbed by this answer. About a month prior to my diagnosis, I had labs drawn at my annual ob/gyn visit, including a comprehensive metabolic panel. Those results were completely and totally normal. The only reason my cancer was found was because I was insistent that there was a lump on my breast and not convinced that it was "probably nothing." If not for my aggression, we would have never found this ultra sneaky type of breast cancer.
If I had followed the "guidelines," I may not have had a mammogram for six years (I was 34 at the time of diagnosis). I probably would have been at an advanced stage of cancer at that point -- if I had survived at all. It sounds like my med. oncologist may not be willing to deviate from guidelines, to acknowledge that I am already an anomaly, or to tailor care to me.
Do you think I am overreacting? Do you think the plan that is called for yields a realistic chance of a recurrence actually being detected quickly? Should I start shopping for a new med. oncologist? Thoughts welcome.