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Follow-up tests after colorectal cancer?

Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi to all, I had rectal cancer, surgery which resulted in an ileostomy, then had chemo/radiation. Could not finish all my chemo due to anorexia. My question is--after you have had surgery/chemo/radiation, what follow up tests do your doctors order for you? How often do you get a CT scan, colonoscopy, blood tests, etc? Just trying to find out what is the norm. I had stage 3 rectal cancer, with a trace of cancer in one lymph node, have not had a CT scan for over a year, same with colonoscopy. Do have blood tests every 4 months and recently had a sigmoidoscopy which showed no problems. I guess it's different for everybody but would be interested to hear how often your doctors order tests for you in the first two year. Thanks in advance for your replies.

All the best, Karlen

Lisa Rose's picture
Lisa Rose
Posts: 597
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Karlen,

Nice to hear from you again . Here in Moncton my check ups go like this.

CT Scan at the one year mark , only because I insisted . My surgeon said that they do not make it a practice .
Blood work every 3 months.
Colonoscopy once a year.
Chest x-ray once a year.
Abdominal Ultrasound once a year to check all major organs .

I just had my 20 month check up with blood work,abdominal ultrasound and my colonoscopy . Everything went great and thats the best I can ask for.


spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Karlen1 -

My tests are similar to Lisa Rose's. Blood every 6 months and scope yearly. No CT scan or X-ray unless I feel like I have a problem.

Just a comment, a sigmoid scope only looks at 1/3 to 1/2 of your colon. There could be something going on on the right side of your colon that a flex-sig will never see. You might consider getting a colonoscopy versus a sigmoidoscopy. (Plus you usually get knocked-out for the colonoscopy).

Stay well!

- SpongeBob

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

Uh, pretty much what they said!

I just reached the two year mark since diagnosis and everything is cool. I still have my port a cath (I just LOVE souvenirs!) and get that flushed every three months as well. PET scans are also a once a year thing for me, too.

Take care and congrats on your success!


Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2003

Lisa and Stacy, so nice to hear from you both. Sent you an e-mail, Lisa, and rec'c your reply. Will get back to you. Thanks so much for your replies. And SpongeBob, the surgeon who gave me the sigmoidoscopy had said if that went well, "we might get the gastroenterologist to do a colonoscopy", but he never mentioned it, and I forgot at the time, so will be phoning his office and see what he says. Thanks so much for your reply.

All the best, Karlen

aspaysia's picture
Posts: 253
Joined: Nov 2003

I am still being closely followed by my oncologist at Duke Med Center 6 mos post chemo.
CT scan every 3 mos with blood work: OP7+8 CEA
My surgeon sees me at 6 mo intervals 20 mos post abdomonal perineal resection.
They tell me I am in a holding pattern. I'd like to land this plane sometime.

Hey, Lisa Rose. I was married in Moncton in the big Anglican church downtown many decades ago.

taunya's picture
Posts: 392
Joined: Jul 2002

I had Dukes stage A rectal cancer. The only treatment I had was surgery. For the first year after surgery I had check-ups every 3 months and blood work, chest x-ray and a colonoscopy after a year. Since the 18 month mark the check-ups and bloodwork are every 6 months. The Doctor does a rectal exam every time I go in (YUCK & WHY?) I personally don't get it. The cancer was not visible during that type of exam so I am never sure what the purpose of it is. I am 6 days away from my next check-up and nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof! I am allways afraid of the news. I seem to have some rectal bleeding about every 6 months or so too which worries me to no end. I am hoping that I get better at this! Best wishes to you.

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