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Follow up Care

Posts: 134
Joined: Dec 2010

What is the current protocol for follow up care after 3 years? My surgeon wants to continue seeing me every 6 months until 5 years. My oncologist says I am done... no more PET scans. I am wondering, should I push for yearly PET scans until at least 5 years are out? What is recommended? I feel better having a yearly checkup via PET scan to make sure all is well. 

mp327's picture
Posts: 4119
Joined: Jan 2010

I totally understand the peace of mind that a scan can give.  My oncologist is definitely a scan man, and even though I just celebrated my 5-year post-treatment anniversary on September 9th., I had my most recent scan just back in June.  However, scans are not recommended as a part of the follow-up protocol, as per the NCCN guidelines, except in cases of T-3 or T-4 tumors or in cases where there is evidence of positive inguinal nodes.  In those cases, chest/abd/pelvic imaging is recommended annually for 3 years--it does not specify PET or CT, but the way it's worded leads me to believe that they refer to CT.  All that said, it appears to me that your doctor is following the guidelines and feels that further scans are not necessary for you.  He/she also may feel that the exposure to additional radiation is not worth the risk.  Unless your tumor was a T-3 or higher or you had cancer in your inguinal nodes, I would say your follow-up is being done appropriately, as long as you continue to get DRE, anoscopy and inguinal node palpation every 3-6 months, which should continue for 5 years post-treatment, according to the guidelines.

If you really want to have another scan, talk to your doctor about getting an MRI, which is done without the risk of radiation exposure.  I do not know how informative that type of scan is regarding anal cancer, but it seems like a lot of people get them as part of their follow-up.  You'd have to ask your doctor about that.

I hope you are doing well! 

Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

My docotrs followed the NCCN protocols and do not do Scans post treatment, unless there are problems. Remember that radiation causes cancer and does other damage.

Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

Just curious.


Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

Stage 2 for the ac cancer, stage 3-b for neuroendocrine cancer. Double whammy! I had been sick for years and the doctors attributed my symptoms to stress.

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