how do you know?

toni61 Member Posts: 14
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I have had a masectomy in November. I finished my chemo in April. I will go for my first 3 month check up in July. The doctor has never been clear as to how they keep watch on the cancer. How do they know? Does the blood test show cancer cells or do they have to wait for a lump to appear or even worse mets in your bones or other organs. I would appreciate any insight on this. Every morning I wake up thinking I'm going to have to go through this again.


  • ksfc
    ksfc Member Posts: 251
    It basically depends on both your individual doctor and your type and stage of cancer. Some people have frequent scans - some never have them. For me - I'm a one year survivior - stage II and I have blood tests (tumor markers) every three months followed by a visit to the oncologist. The blood tests can give an indication of problems but they aren't definitive and some doctors don't like to rely on them at all. I also see my surgeon every three months.
  • hummingbyrd
    hummingbyrd Member Posts: 950 Member
    Pay close attention to your body and to what God tells you aka that little voice in your head.
    I began right away w/ bone scan, CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis just for peace of mind. I also have blood tests done called a CMP (complete metabolic profile) CBC (complete blood count) CEA (carcinogenic embryonic antigen/test for cancer) and CA 27.29 (tests for breast cancer cells). BUT...every doctor is different and may or may not order any of these tests. Also I had mammograms every 6 months for the 1st 2 years. PROBABLY the MOST important thing though is to get a hold of your fear and get rid of it! That will do you more harm than just about anything. SO, if these tests help alleviate the fear, insist on them. God bless. hummingbyrd
  • cammie
    cammie Member Posts: 102
    I understand your fear. I too am so very scared that I will have to do this again some day. I would love the peace of mind a CT scan or MRI would give. Insurances do not like to dish out for these expensive tests unless there is just cause. ( A Lump or positive blood test. ) Hang in there - Your not alone. I had my surgery in Dec and finished chemo in April, with my 3 month check up to come in July. If you want to talk feel free to e-mail me. [email protected]
  • pollyana
    pollyana Member Posts: 6
    I am a 2 year surrivor and feel totally vulnerable. I have blood tests every 4 months after my oncology visits. Last year I had a bone scan, but there are no plans for other tests. Also, I was just taken off of Tamoxifen after 1-1/2 years because the med will not reduce the risk of recurrence of the ER negeative tumor I had. I guess we will just have to believe in God and live each day to the fullest. Since my diagnosis, I feel like I have been kicked many time, but I've learned to get up and go on. It's the only way to win!

    Good Luck!
  • blossomtime
    blossomtime Member Posts: 98
    I hear what you are saying. I am a one yr survivor and just had my first 4 month checkup.
    My doctor ordered cbc, chem profile, cea and chest x-ray. He does not do scans routinely only if one of the other tests is suspicious or I have symptoms. I will get MRI now though because of some back pain that continues. I just hope and pray everyday that I will not have to go thru this again, but I plan to be ever watchful and try to live life to the fullest. Please email if you need to talk. We are all in this together, good luck
  • ryley
    ryley Member Posts: 55
    I, too, had a mastectomy and my last chemo in April. I am now getting radiation. In July I will get my 3rd CT/bone scan to check for mets. I received my first in Nov, my second in Feb and will probably get them every 3 months for a year. As long as they keep coming back negative, they give me peace of mind.

    Talk to you dr. and see what he thinks of these tests.

    Good luck and God bless.