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Joined: Feb 2009

hi everybody, thank you so much to everyone who posts on this board it has been so helpful to me.
i was stage 1 renal cell carcinoma. had a radical nephrectomy done laparoscopically on dec. 12.the cancer was not found anywhere but in the tumor. my surgeon/urologist said i can wait 6 months for a ct scan of abdomen and chest along with blood work. my oncologist ( i also had stage 1 breast cancer 4 yrs. ago)agreed with the 6 month time line but said i could do it earlier if i wanted (if i was worried)
so what did everybody have for testing right after your surgery?
the dr.'s always say they don't want to expose you to more radiation than is necessary with the scans. but if they order a test than its ok. in november i had 2 ct scans a week apart.
i don't like to go looking for trouble either and i know that you can't do a scan every month hoping you're going to catch the cancer if God forbid it comes back. but it's just so scary for the first year anyway.
thanks so much.
continued good health to us all.
ps: while we're on the subject. what does your dr. do at your physical exams?

donna_lee's picture
Posts: 1015
Joined: Feb 2009

Your doctors seem right on for a 6 month test. I wrote earlier under your query about scarring so you can refer to that one to see what I've been doing. Becuase my first diagnosis was at Stage IV, I had CT's every 3 months the first year. Then after the second surgery a year later, the Dr. felt I could go 6 months. Whoops-too long. It returned the 3rd year. Between June 08 surgery and now, the CT's were in Sept, January -when they found a new spot on the liver- and a 2 month interval with another in early March. "Spot" had not grown, but there was an unidentifiable hypodensity that I'll have an ultrasound on this Friday. I'll have a CT in 3 months (first of June) and hope for the best. Right now they also found some lymph notes near the lungs that showed, but I've had a bad winter cold and hopefully they were doing their job gathering up white cells and bacteria. Anyway, they'll monitor those next time.
Physicals-I have an internist and see him every 3-4 months. Pre appointment labs with CBC and CMP checking cholesterol, blood sugar, and everything else on those panels. BP, which is also tied into the kidneys. My oncologist office does labs - again CBC and CMP and they are also checking to measure creatanine and eGFR -kidney function. You can use the internet to find out each item in the CBC (Complete Blood Count) and CMP (Complete Metabolic Panel) and what the standards are. My lab reports, depending on which clinic, give me the normal ranges, what my previous test(s) showed and whether certain tests are higher or lower than normal range. There are the usual range of questions about meds, how they are working, if they aren't (I'm on 2 for BP, one for cholesterol, 1 for depression, and now a sleeping pill, plus OTC vitamins, etc.) They also check overall energy, eating, eliminating, lungs, heart and whatever else. My internist is a "thinking" man and uses education as intervention to prevent future problems.
CT's: They are "hard on" one kidney because it has to work harder to eliminate the contrast dye/iodine. I am given an Rx of Acetylcyst (mucomist) which is a mucus thinner and take 3 mm the night before and the morning of a CT. Then have pre and post hydration of 1 liter of D5W. It all helps the kidney flush out better. Since starting this road, I've had an ultra sound, 12 CT's, a bone scan, a needle biopsy, and a PET scan, and 3 surgeries plus a bout of pancreatitis after Surgery #1. And that doesn't count the broken ankle and dislocate that required surgery and many screws, cast changes, x-rays, etc. in 2007. The prolonged anesthesia from the surgeries have also created a heart problem -left bundle branch block -that causes irregular heart rhythm under anesthesia.

But you know what makes it all worthwhile? Last night I played with my granddaughters and we acted silly, ran around with receiving blankets over our heads pretending to be Red Riding Hood or the Wolf/Grandma and generally enjoyed being together. And this weekend my daughter and the grandsons are coming for my 66th birthday. Every Day I wake up is a Great Day.

I have a friend in the Cancer Support Group -11 years after a 13 pound tumor on her left kidney. She had CT's every 3 months for 5 years; then every 6 months for 5 years; now only 1/year.
Hang in there!! Stage I has a good prognosis.

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