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Follow - Up Chest X-Rays

Hodgkins1982
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2010

Quick backround: I was treated for Hodgkin's in 1982 (Radiationa and Chemo). Quad by-pass in 2002. At my annual Oncology check-up today, the doctor suggested decreasing the frequency of my chest x-ray from annually to every other year, because less radiation is always a good thing. When I said, " but isn't the downside that we'll go two years before catching something". He said, "okay we'll do one next year, you scared me".

Leaving aside for the minute that his response was asinine, what the opinion of the other long-term survivors out there regarding the risk associated with annual chest x-rays?

Thanks.

Hodgkins1982
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2010

Bueller?

Bueller?

merrywinner's picture
merrywinner
Posts: 627
Joined: Aug 2009

I guess I would feel the same way you do. After all the treatments, CT scans, PET scans etc etc, it's a fine time to be worried about radiation exposure. I would most definitely want the more frequent checks. Not too comforting to know you scared your Doc. with a legitimate question. All the best. Mary

dixiegirl's picture
dixiegirl
Posts: 1043
Joined: Apr 2006

My onc doesn't want to do unnecessary scans either due to exposure to radiation. When I ask about scans he says he'll wait until I tell him I don't feel good. Actually I am at his office now getting my treatment.

Been having bowel issues and he's sending me to my surgeon for determining what test/procedures I need. Most likely colonoscopy, but we'll see. I did have one test that shows something of a "looped bowel" and it is really causing me pain these days. It just never stops sometimes.

merrywinner's picture
merrywinner
Posts: 627
Joined: Aug 2009

In reading the other posts please let me clarify that I totally agree with our MD's very closely monitoring our amount of radiation exposure and hope they continue to do a good job with that. In reading your post I understood it to mean that the yearly chest X Ray was the main follow up you have been receiving to monitor your condition. That being the case I would want to continue that for my own peace of mind. The chest x ray is a drop in the bucket compared to what would happen if something reoccurred in that 2 year interval. I guess it's all a matter of where we are all at in the journey. I am currently being monitored for my remission holding, so have had many scans already this year with more to come. If I could sneak by with a chest x ray I would be very happy. Hopefully there will come a time when I get a choice as to how much I need to get.

cathyp's picture
cathyp
Posts: 373
Joined: Dec 2009

I had HD in 1989 and 1994. Breast Cancer in 2008. My docs stopped all routine scans and xrays in 1995. I have had xrays and scans for other reasons, PAT's for surgeries, car accident, unexplaind stomach pains, yearly mammos, etc. No scans after the BC too. All are worried about the rad exposure and hesitant to do any until I have unexplained, prolonged pain again. Have cardiac problems from the previous radiation all ready.

Hodgkins1982
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2010

Thanks to all who responded and I wish my best to you.

Just to clarify, for years my follow-up treatment for HD consists of the chest x-ray, complete blood work and physical exam. I am seen by my cardiologist 2x year as a follow-up on the bypass.

The thing I find illogical is that my understanding is that a CAT or PET scan is something like 400 times the amount of radiation in a single chest x-ray. With one chest ray a year, it would take 400 years for me to recieve the same amount of radiation as just one CAT/PET scan!

So doesn't the benefit of the annual chest xray outweight the concerns (in terms of health risk vs. early detection of another cancer) many times over?! I guess, I'm saying this should be a no-brainer. What am I missing?

vinny59's picture
vinny59
Posts: 1032
Joined: Nov 2006

I agree a annual chest x ray outweighs the rest of not finding something early, case and point me, I had head and neck cancer was in remission for three years, then I just did not feel right, was dizzy, had a cough, told my Onc. she said lets do a scan, you guessed the rest, NHL stage 4, if I never had the scan, I would never of had a chance. Go what you feel is right....... Vinny

merrywinner's picture
merrywinner
Posts: 627
Joined: Aug 2009

Very well put and I don't think you are missing anything. There's a big push on right now to watch radiation exposure with everyone and rightly so. MD's are getting slapped on the hand for ordering too many scans or unnecessary tests etc, not to mention the $$. I guess they are kind of damned if they do and damned if they don't. But I feel in your case it is prudent and much less exposure then scans. Good luck and I hope all continues to be well. Mary

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