Follow Up Dr. Appointments

jmears Member Posts: 266
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I finished surgery, chemo and radiation a year and a half ago. I am taking Tamoxifen and I go to my Oncologist every three months. Does every three months seem like a lot after all this time out of treatment. I get a CBC each time and every other time he sends blood to the lab for markers. I'm starting to feel like I don't want to go that often ... like that's often after what we've been through right? Thanks Jamie


  • jeancmici
    jeancmici Member Posts: 665 Member

    I'm on the same schedule tho' I do not get marker tests - just blood chemistry - not CBC either - but I think they do this routine for the first five years - the blood tests would - supposedly - catch any changes in the liver etc.

    I was done in July (13) 2001 - almost the same as you. I feel better on a 3-month schedule altho' the nurse practitioner I usually see is not very thorough. It's too bad we can't just forget the whole thing - but of course we can't - even the tamoxifen is a daily reminder :-(

    Best Wishes,
  • ksfc
    ksfc Member Posts: 251
    My onc has me come every 3 months for the first 2 years, then every 4-6 months until 5 years. Right now I also see the radiation onc and the surgeon I see every 3 months too.
    I don't mind the schedule - it's a good time to get questions answered and I find that knowing that I'm being closely watched keeps me from getting worried about every little thing. Diane
  • inkblot
    inkblot Member Posts: 698 Member
    Hi Jamie:

    I also finished up treatment in '01 but a little later than yourself. I finished up the last leg of it, radiation, in October '01.

    My follow up visits with my onc. are very 3 months. At these visits, she does a complete physical, tumor markers, counts and chemistry profile. The standard for follow up where I live is every 3 months for the first two years. Then it goes to every 4 or 5 months, continuing to be less frequent each year, until at 5 years, the onc. visit is once yearly. She orders a once yearly chest x-ray but no other routine tests, unless they are scans, etc..
    Thank goodness!!!

    I currently have a mammo every 6 months and see my surgeon every 6 months, who also does a very thorough breast exam, reviews my most recent mammo report with me and studies the actual films while I'm there.

    I see the radiation onc. every 6 months too. He asks questions, also reviews the mammo report and films with me and does a thorough physical. After another year, I will only see my surgeon and rad. onc. once yearly, unless I have a problem.

    I too have grown weary, at times, with all the visits. And I really don't like hauling all those films round to the different doctors. It's a pain but...the stats show that there's a highter risk of recurrence's and/or mets, during the first two years following initial treatment. Part of the reason for that, as I understand it, is that once the primary tumor is surgically removed, it's not uncommon for any cancer cells, which have decided to take a foothold to begin to grow much faster. Soooo, I guess it's good that they're keeping such a close eye on us. This way, if something new should develop, then it will be discovered more quickly and therefore, be more treatable.

    I know...still leaves us detesting all those visits! I think we all need to remember the IMPORTANCE of doing those monthly BSE's! That recent report out of China stating that BSE's were really a waste of time, made me angry. It was so much goobildee-****, in my opinion. We have to remember that in China, cancer is often seen as a disgrace. CHINESE WOMEN OFTEN DISCOVER LUMPS AND TAKE ABSOLUTELY NO ACTION AT ALL due to the cultural stigma attached. Breast health/awareness is practically non existent, mammo's and treatment centers are very few and far between, with no services at all in most of the provinces. I discovered my lump through monthly BSE and know about 15 other women who did also. I feel, in my own case, that it was lifesaving and as long as I have any breast tissue remaining in my body, I will continue the practice. Which means, forever as there's no way to surgically remove all of it.

    At any rate, hope it helps to know that we're all pretty much on the same follow up regimen.

    Love, light and laughter,
  • shirlann
    shirlann Member Posts: 229
    Hi, Jamie, I only go once every 6 months for a mammo only. Now, I had a very small, non-aggressive cancer. This makes a difference, if you had a large cancer or a type that tends to metastasize, or an aggressive one, they would tend to check you more often. Of course, if you have great insurance this works too. hee hee, hugs, Shirlann
  • maggs
    maggs Member Posts: 164
    I had lymph node involvement, so that's why I go that often...and now they want to make it once a month because scans are clear, but markers keep going up! They want to try Fasodex next...
  • maggs
    maggs Member Posts: 164
    I had lymph node involvement, so that's why I go that often...and now they want to make it once a month because scans are clear, but markers keep going up! They want to try Faslodex next...
  • nasa2537
    nasa2537 Member Posts: 311
    Hi Jamie...I go every 4 months, but didn't have chemo. She said it will be every 4 mos til I'm off tamoxifen. I get the whole blood work-up every time I go. I guess they just want to keep an eye on us! Best wishes....Cyndi