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Doctor appointment visits

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6652
Joined: Feb 2009

Just curious as to how many times you go to the doctor every year. Seems like I have to go every three months with a blood test, and then go for results. I have to go for CT scan every six months. My oncologist said I have to see her for the first three years every 3 months and the next two years every six months. I have to pay for every doctor appointment, plus $100 for labs every three months. I have a $7,000 deductible plus $269 monthly insurance payment - thanks to GM and the government taking over we pay more than ever and we are so stressed with this government takeover. Last year never had a deductible. Last month I paid $890 for what insurance didn't pay. They didn't pay for one dime of my costs but billed me for everything.

Question basically is how often to you go to doctor for follow up.

If i just go for the blood test and things are good - why do I have to go to the doctor in three months to find out the results and pay $150 just for her to say so?


dianetavegia's picture
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

That's awful Kim!

I'm also Stage III but not rectal so there may be a difference. I don't remember how many lymph nodes you had positive but I think it was not many. Our dx time is only a few months apart. I was dx'd in Jan. 09 and had surgery within days.

I see the doctor every 6 months and have bloodwork that day. They have an automated call for normal results. The doctor or his PA calls if something is elevated or low (potassium, etc). I have CT scans yearly.

I'd talk to my doctor and tell her your situation! My onc stopped charging for disconnect from the pump after I told him that $30 was a killer for me... His office stopped charging copay for lab draws, too.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Hi Kim...I have had two bouts of mets so we are different but.....I go every 3 months...I get CEA's and then 3 months later I get a CT scan...I think CEA testing is expensive...I have to get a written form from my onc and then it is free...

I am so sorry have these nasty costs


geotina's picture
Posts: 2121
Joined: Oct 2009

We are in the same boat. Our out of pocket is about $7,000 plus. Additionally, we have to pay for part of our health insurance premium. This is pretty standard now so welcome to the "what the heck did I even bother working for club". If you work, pay taxes, blah blah blah, you are screwed. Based upon this George and I are actually looking for some government reform, it can't be any worse and at least it will be evenly spread out for everyone. I need to stop now before I offend.

George is a year and 2 months into this and has mets so I don't see an end to this never ending payout and I was so looking forward to maybe retiring and not having to work anymore but I just don't see that happening.

Oh, doctor visits, every six weeks now, labs every week, big labs once a month, continuing on chemo, CT scans for now are about every 6 months, he has had 2 in one year's time.


PGLGreg's picture
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

I've had followups with my medical oncologist every 3 months for 4 1/2 years now (out from stage 2a rectal). At the end of every visit, my doctor scribbles out an "outpatient lab requisition" form for the next visit. Currently he checks off (1) liver function panel, (2) CEA, (3) PSA total screen (diagnostic for prostate cancer), (4) CBC with differential. About a week before my next appointment, I take the requisition to a hospital lab and get the blood drawn for the tests. My insurance (an Hawaii state plan) pays for the tests and doctor visits. There's a token copayment for my yearly CT scans.


lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008


You have a legitimate question. I've had the fortunate experience of a doctor seeing this before. I had gotten insurance permission for a second opinion and had that but, when I wanted to consult with that same doctor when things went bad for me this past Feb, insurance wouldn't let me see him again, since I had already consulted him within the last year. I explained this to the doctor, and he was understanding and just called me on the phone to go over test results and we talked on the phone that evening for at least 20 minutes, all for no cost to me. Perhaps a doctor might be willing to do the same. At the very least, I'd let him/her know that you will be getting the results yourself (make sure you get a copy of all test and lab results) & that you can't afford the dr. appt, but please call you if he has any concerns, suggestions, thoughts, etc.

Since I'm in treatment, I see my onc every 4 weeks right now. I think when I thought I was NED the 2x in the past, I was put on the every 3 months schedule (I never was able to go more than 3-4 months without having a bad scan again, so I don't know how it would have been for the longer haul.

Best wishes,

Kerry S's picture
Kerry S
Posts: 607
Joined: Dec 2009

Our out of pocket from Jan of 07 is $79,849. That is 56% of our cost of living. That sure eats at the retirement nest egg. I go to my colon doc every 6 months now with blood work. I fired my onc last year. I will get a CT now once a year. Colonoscopy every 2 years. DXed 3/08.

At my age you start looking at the return on investment.

The wife has crohns and gets remicade every 60 days. Our cost is $600 per.

geotina's picture
Posts: 2121
Joined: Oct 2009

I though we were shelling out a lot of money. Paying co-pays is a killer and since about 20% of your bill isn't even your bill, oh well, never mind, gets my panties in a bunch every time the mail comes with yet another bill. Retirement, not having to work, only a dream now........ I must add, George is worth every penny.


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Good question, Kim

We are also about $7500 out of pocket expense - 25% of every procedure, scan or office visit, bloodwork etc.etc.

I was going every 3 months - but changed my approach when my last scan cycle came up. I can do bloodwork and then go home and check out the results on-line. Perhaps your place has a similar option - this allows you to be your own doc and see how your levels look to you - if they are ok, this would indeed save you an office call to hear what you already read.

I'll be switching my health care around too, going forward. Not sure how we'll pull this new surgery off - and they'll be calling for scans again 3-6 - I've got to stop the bleeding somewhere too.

I'm sorry your insurance plans have changed and you are now incurring some heavy expenses. It's beginning to catch up to all of us. Can you imagine if you had to start over and do what you've already done with your new plan? Simply no way you would be able to do it.

Right now, I'm on a 3-month plan - I'll probably do the labwork every 3 months - the onc visit will become optional - scans (after I pay some off) will be further and further apart until I can do something else.

So glad to see you again - have missed you - looks like you jumped right back in:)


RickMurtagh's picture
Posts: 586
Joined: Feb 2010

it seems like I am going to, scheduling or discussing appointments with doctors about once very fifteen minutes. Colorectal, urologist, nephrology, radiation, oncology, anesthesiology and five or six other guys in lab coats that swear they are doctors of something or other. The truth is I see at least one doctor every two or three weeks, but I haven't established a "routine" yet. Hopefully I will see less and less of those life savers as time goes by.

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