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Post treatment scans

Posts: 344
Joined: Sep 2012

My husband will be starting chemo and radiation next week. He will be having one side of neck radiated and will be receiving Cisplatin x 3 doses. He had BOT laser surgery 8 weeks ago and a right side selective neck dissection with 3 positive lymph nodes, one with extracapsular extension. Three weeks ago he had lymph nodes dissected on left side and all those lymph nodes were found to be negative.

My question is how long after treatment will his first scan be? I read all the posts about scan anxiety and NED and wondered when we can anticipate his first scan.

Thank you for your help


Posts: 213
Joined: Sep 2012

Sounds like you and John, are progressing nicely. I can't say for sure in your case, but I know the first scan I will get is 3 months out from treatment, I know they want the tissues to return to normal, so you don't get a false positive.
Keeping you guys in my prayers.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Is the norm...

Like Jim mentioned, some MD's like to wait at least 4 - 6 months. That gives time for more healing and less residual to show false readings.


amy_h414's picture
Posts: 98
Joined: May 2012

My husband's first scan was about 3 months after radiation ended. He had cisplatin x 6, 35 rads, no surgery for oropharyngeal scc hpv+.

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mar 2012

3 months after the last treatment. I finished my radiaiton on June 15th, but continued to have chemo for another 3 1/2 months, finishing on Aug 28th. They had already scheduled my PET scan for Nov. 27th.


hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I was given a CAT w/contrast about 10 weeks after my last rad/chemo tx. First PET this Friday which is just shy of 5 months out. Seems like doctors vary in when they scan and which scan they prefer first. Even my ONC and surgeon differed.

Posts: 57
Joined: Oct 2012

My PET was 3 months out. It showed my Stage 4 SCC resolved in my neck (lymph nodes and tumor at epiglottis) and had some minor uptake values in the lungs which my rad and med oncs are 95% sure is inflamation. I will get another soft tissue neck CT with chest in 4 months. Then, they plan to alternate PET and CT scans at 4 month intervals.

Tim6003's picture
Posts: 1511
Joined: Nov 2011

then scoped / finger exam each month by Onco and ENT ...then at 6 months post tx I got a CT/w contrast, still getting scoped each month by Onco and ENT ...scheduled for my next PET in November ...I got a definitive NED on my 6 mo CT/w contrast and my first PET post tx was "very good" with some slight uptick in heat on my vocal cords which they felt strongly was rad residue, not disease residue.



blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

because I'm still having mouth/throat discomfort, thought it might be a little early for scans. talked to a nurse and asked her, "if my PET/CT scan is too early, will it give a false positive?" she assured me that it wasn't too early, not to worry.

well...sure enough, the results showed a "hot spot" in my throat. no NED for me, but both my oncs reckon it's radition residual and are happy. my next appointment isn't for another month.

I'm gaining weight, starting to work out, the beard is coming back in, and my energy is up.
not gonna pin my peace of mind on the scans, and not gonna worry until my docs give me a reason to worry.

Posts: 344
Joined: Sep 2012

I am happy you had good results from your recent scans and I like your attitiude. I am amazed how strong all you "veterans" on this site are. I am trying to emmulate your strength, since I am by nature a "worry wart".

We start up the chemo/rad treatment on Monday ....so trying to enjoy our last few days of normal until the new normal starts up.


hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I think it's easier to actually get the show on the road than the anticipation that comes with waiting. Your husband will be given a card to scan in when he arrives for rads and can then go directly to the dressing/waiting room. Usually there is no wait. The actual radiation tx only takes 15 minutes at most. I wouldn't worry too much about side effects because he won't have all of them and those that do appear can happen in any degree. Better off to deal with each as they come up. Kevin, the rad nurse gave me Aquaphor, hindsight, I think I would have tried gooping it on before each tx to possibly protect my lips instead of using it once I got lip sores. Kevin also gave me Vanicream for my neck. I used it and my neck turned very dark brown at the end of tx but never oozed or caused any pain.

Posts: 344
Joined: Sep 2012

Thanks for the information. Good news is he will only be having the right side radiated since all neck nodes were negative for malignancy. I am hoping this will decrease side effects but will be enough to keep the cancer eradicated.

But, you are so right...the anticipation is the worst. We have been waiting to start this for eight weeks.


ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

I had my first PET 8 months post treatment. (I think the timing is more to do with insurance than doctors.) It was positive: "highly suspicious for lung cancer". What is the next step? Another scan in 8 weeks. What if that and the next few PET's are positive? Well, we'll watch it every few months until it grows or you start having symptoms.

So (1) If there is no treatment following a positive result and (2) There is a large chance for false positives: What's the rush????

Every patient must make his/her own decision. But I would suggest asking: What would be your suggested treatment if the PET were positive.

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