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Question about scans

Doreen65's picture
Doreen65
Posts: 52
Joined: Aug 2005

Hi everyone I was just wondering how often all of the survivors get scans? How many scans are good for us? My last scans were in September 06 and I'm wondering on my next oncologist visit this Thursday if he is going to want to do more scans. As much as I want them to know everything is still okay I am afraid of too much radiation from all of the scans. My CEA is still low but also my CEA was low at diagnosis. Today is one of my worrying days I try so hard to just let one day go and not worry. It helps to get out of the house and away from the computer. :o) Have a great weekend everyone. P.S. do we ever stop worrying.

PGLGreg's picture
PGLGreg
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

I'm figuring on getting a CT scan every year for 3-5 years (after stage 2 rectal cancer 15 months ago). My oncologist didn't recommend this, but he doesn't seem to be against it, either. I'm factoring in the fact that I smoked for almost 50 years, and a CT scan might pick up lung cancer early.

I looked around a bit on the Web for safety information. Many places cite a figure of 3 years equivalent background radiation for an abdominal or whole body CT scan. I don't think that means much. But here is an informative quote from Australia: "The Department of Health has advised that a whole body CT scan with an effective dose of 10 mSv may be associated with an increase in the possibility of cancer of approximately 1 in 2000. This cancer risk generally outweighs the potential health benefits for healthy people under the age of 50."
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/radiation/ctbodyscans.htm

Greg

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1254
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Doreen -

I think in part at least it really depends upon your stage. I'm Stage IV and have had no chemo since November 2005. My oncologist keeps an eagle eye on me which means PET and CT scans every 3 months - maybe next Fall when I reach 2 years NED we'll start stretching it out a little. But, both she and I are more worried about a met showing up and getting out of hand than we are about the radiation from the CT scans.

It's an individual decision - if I had a $ for every time someone has told me - "this is no more radiation than you get flying to LA and back", I'd be rich! (And, it's been 10 years since I flew to LA!)

Take care,
Betsy (who has scans coming up AGAIN in April)

lfondots63's picture
lfondots63
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi,

I think every person and every doctor is different. I actually asked my doctor about this a few weeks ago at my appt. I have never had another scan since I was dx in Dec. 2005. My CEA when dx was 64 and now is down to .7. My doc said since my CEA was a good marker for me, we would just continue to watch it every 3 months. I also had a clean total colonoscopy in August so no worries right now. I guess it also depends on what stage you are? I'm only stage 3 so that might also be factored in. Ask your doc and I would say whatever eases your mind should be done. We worry enough over every little ache and pain once dx with CA. HUGS.

Lisa F.

grandma713
Posts: 105
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi, I was stage 2- I had a scan about 2 years from diagnosis,but he doesnt see a need for it now. Evidently CEA is not going to be a good marker for me either, since it was normal at my diagnosis. I think you have to trust your dr to do what is right for you

Susanbm
Posts: 61
Joined: Mar 2006

I was concerned about my lack of scans, particularly with the Tony Snow recurrence. I called my oncologist yesterday. I am Stage III with 1 lmph node, 2 years NED. My CEA levels have been great and my oncologist said he would not recommend any scans unless the CEA levels began to rise. He said that by the time something is large enough to show on a scan that it should have been evident by a rise in your CEA.

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