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how often do you have your scans?

Posts: 12
Joined: Aug 2013

Hi all!!! Just wanted to ask how often do you get your regular check ups and scans? dad had radical neph in July and got his first scans 3 months later, result was NED (thanking God for that). tumor was 4 cm, stage 3 due to fat invasion, grade 2. Doctor was optimistic that theyy got all the cancer and ordered the next scan to be in 6 months time.  i did ask to the dr whether it would be better f we have the next scans sooner, like in 3 months time, but he said it was too soon. what do u think? highly appreciate your inputs. thank u.

angec's picture
Posts: 923
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Siluet, glad they feel they got it all and the scans were NED! Me, i would prefer to have the scans in between the 3-6 months, if possible! Just for the reason of fat invasion and grade 3.  For a small size tumor, such as that, it is surprising it went into the fat.  Do you have the path report? What type of RCC? Any Sarcomatoid features?  See if they can do 4 month scans. Are you seeing an Oncologist?  Also, did they do full body pet/ct scans?  I always recommend it even though most doctors say you don't need it!  Hopefully they are right and he is clear and will keep clear. But for the the first year or so I would err on the side of caution. Let's see what the others say. Alot of people here with alot more experience than me that would be happy to give their inputs.  All the best to you and your dad!

GSRon's picture
Posts: 1304
Joined: Jan 2013

From what I see and hear, generally the stage 3 or 4 get scanned typically every 3 months for like 2 years then go to 6 months.  Earlier stages start at 6 months then go to 1 year, then 2 years.   Now this seems to vary from Dr to Dr. but this seems to be the most common.  I am sure others will chime in as well..

Be Well All..!!


icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3235
Joined: Jan 2010

Three to six, months for the first year, than six months to annually for five years and than as needed thereafter.  After five years I have been having an ultrasound each year as they are watching cysts in the other Kidney. A lot of factors go into the doctor's decision as to when and what to scan. These include his experiences, peer reviews, cost, insurance, path reports, blood work, physical symtoms and complaints, tolorance of contrast, and intuition. If it was a magical interval the nurse could handle the scheduling. Depending on the results of each scan the Doctor may channge the next scan(s) to a larger or shorter interval or a different scan.


Do not get hung up on minor scheduling differences between what A had and what B had.



foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

having scans every 6 weeks for about 2 years? That was my schedule when I was on the trial drug MDX-1106 or now known as nivolumab. I'm in a different boat now. No telling my frequency. That will come.

izzycohen's picture
Posts: 75
Joined: Aug 2013

I had my first scan two months after surgery.  It was NED.  The next scan is scheduled for three months after the first one.  Assuming that the second scan is also clean, I expect the doctor to put me on a six month schedule.  Praying for you.



Galrim's picture
Posts: 305
Joined: Apr 2013

Scan intervals depends on so many factors that comparing is close to useless/impossible (unless someone has a 100% identical diagnosis/prognosis).

If you doubt your Dads oncs decision, have a second or third opinion, and ask under all circumstances him/her why he chooses this specific interval. For what its worth, 3 month first scan and then 6 month intervals when NED sounds like reasonable intervals with your fathers diagnosis.


dhs1963's picture
Posts: 510
Joined: May 2012

That was for T1b grade 4 (sarcomitoid).  At six months, a solitary met on the lung was found.  Now, it is every 3 months for now, will bump to six months, then one year.


Posts: 32
Joined: Oct 2012

The very first scan was after 2 months.  I thought it was too soon to switch drugs...but we didn't know anything at the time.  Still struggling to learn.  Meds changed and had another 2 month scan.  Now scans are every 3 months pet/cts.  It's been almost 2 years of this.

Frank302's picture
Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2013

I'm in a trial for Nivolumab so the first year my scans were every six weeks. Now they are every twelve weeks .

donna_lee's picture
Posts: 908
Joined: Feb 2009

After 7 years, I don't think there is a hard and fast rule that oncologists follow.  I depends upon the Stage of the cancer at first Dx., if it was at Stage 4 and had mets and to what organ, if it recurred or developed in another organ after the first treatment (be it surgery, drugs, etc.), if it has recurred another time.

For the first year or so, usually every 3 months.  Then, 6 months.  By 5 years, they will stretch it to yearly, we hope.

But if anything else pops up, the scheduling may go back to 3 month intervals.

In my case, after the original surgery for Stage 4 with mets to the liver and nodes, I was on a 3 month scheldule for the 1st year.  A single node recurrence was found and removed.  The second year, I was on a 6 month schedule, when another recurrece was found and removed.  Over the following three years, I was almost to 6 month intervals, alternating a CT with Chest X-ray/Ultrasount of pelvis, when thyroid nodules were discovered.  A lot of tests later, they were determined to be benign; but it put me back on an every 3 month test schedule, again alternating CT with Xray/US.

When the use of drugs- trial, approved or otherwise enter the case, the monitoring of effectiveness and individual response and reaction are going to be of prime importance to the patient and the Dr.

In any event, let the treating physician be the guide, but don't hesitate to ask questions.  Good Luck.


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