Follow Up PET scans

i have not been n here for a few years and it is wonderful to see so many on the “old gang” on has been 4 yrs since treatment with no signs of reoccurrence..I need some advice though. I went with my friend to see her oncologist Friday as she is 7 years past breast cancer, hiking  working full time in the woods healthy 60 year old woman who started having ome indigestion then stomach swelling.... they gave her a scan and the Dr told us she now has stage 4 ovarian cancer in spleen and bones and if she doesn’t start chemo probably 2 months left. As you can imagine this was more than shocking... chemo to begin next Friday... my question is this....why are we not getting more CT scans to look for beginning signs before it is too late? My treatment has been blood tests every 6 months and a chest CT scan once a year.. What are they doing for the rest of you? This is such a double edge sword as she was already retiring next week. I am her neighbor and am retiring the week after..I plan on helping her through all this as she is not married and has no children....just feeling frustrated and wondering if we are getting the same level of care the rest of you are getting. Thank you all foe being here! nancy


  • ShadyGuy
    ShadyGuy Member Posts: 756 Member
    CT scans can be risky

    especially as the radiation effect builds up over the years. It's cumulative and can in fact cause cancer. For that reason and also probably the cost a Doctor would rarely (probably never) prescribe a CT scan routinely as a preventive. They are generally only used when there is good reason to suspect something is wrong. That said, there are some facilities which do offer diagnostic body scans to otherwise healthy people. That is generally not covered by insurance. The doctor suspected something was wrong with your friend and ordered a CT scan. That's how it works. Best of luck to your friend. With no immediate family she is lucky to have you. Life can be tough, and no one should face it alone. Hopefully she will respond well to treatments and be back in the job she loves shortly. You may want to help her find some sort of support. I find it hard to imagine where I would be without my family. There are groups out there who can help her. 

  • Evarista
    Evarista Member Posts: 325 Member
    There is also the issue of timing

    Hello Kaniksu and good news on your progress.  So sorry to hear about your friend, though.  

    In addition to the safety issues that Shady points out, there is also the problem of timing.  We had a dear friend with a similar scenario:  17 years out from radical bilateral mastectomy and treatment, she had a recurrence.  And she was having PET scans once a year.  But her PET scans were in January and her recurrence was in September.  And that's how it kinda is:  nothing to detect in January, then 8 months later, a lump.

    So how often to do PET scans, CT scans, blood draws?  My bloodwork is done every 3 months at this point (almost 3 years since diagnosis).  But at the time, I went from normal bloodwork (annual exam) to ER admission and complete bone marrow failure in 5 weeks, so even that frequency might not pick up anything early.

    Kudos for stepping up in her time of need.  Here's hoping it goes well for her.

  • Kaniksu
    Kaniksu Member Posts: 54

    Thanks you guys..Guess in all my sadness I needed a reality check. Each day is a gift.

  • DJS628
    DJS628 Member Posts: 77
    Glad You are 4 Years Post-Treatment/Sorry About Your Friend

    Hi Kaniksu,

    I am so happy for you being cancer-free for 4 years now!  Here's hoping and praying you stay that way from now on out.

    I am so sorry to hear about your friend.  I'm sure she is glad to have you as a friend and to help her, give her support, etc., etc.  I will add her to my prayer list.  It seems to be getting longer and longer; so sad to hear of more and more people being diagnosed with cancer.

    I "love" that "at five years, you are cured!"  Oh, my! 7 years after breast cancer and now she has stage 4 ovarian cancer?!! 

    I had Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma in Sept. 2015, recurrence in July 2017, a stem cell transplant in Jan. 2018, then another recurrence last Sept.  Cancer is so scary!  I see my oncologist every 3 months now.  He does blood work and checks my lymph nodes.  I am also getting pet scans every 6 months.  I just had one last week and received the good news that I am still in remission.  So very thankful!

    Please give your friend a hug from me and let her know I am thinking of her and also praying the treatments work for her.

    Take Care,