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Initial Follow-Up Exam Schedule Question

woodstock99's picture
Posts: 116
Joined: May 2021

Hi Ladies,

I had my surgery on 6/10/21 - hard to believe it's been 3 months already.  Sorry if below is TMI.

I saw my surgeon/medical oncologist for a post-op follow-up exam on 7/19/21 and my next visit with her is 3 months later for 10/18/21.

I had 4 brachy treatments that ended on 8/2/21. 

The radiation oncologist told em when I finished that he wanted to see me in 6 weeks which I was surprised about and that appointment was earlier today.

It felt far more invasive thna the pelvic exam I had in July by the MO but because I go to a teaching hospital it was not only the RO who examined me but also his new resident and I am feeling somewhat "raw" aftertwards as they were both inside with the speculum and fingesrs and they did a swab although not sure of what or why. 

Before the exam I told him I was using my dilator every other day for 15 minutes and had progressed to size 2 after my last visit with the pelvic floor therapist and plan to move up to size 3 soon.  He told me I need to get to size 5.

He said everything looked and felt fine inside today but they used a small speculum at my request as pelvic exams have been uncomfortable for me for many years post-menopause.  

He said he wants to use a standard size speculum to be able to see more and better inside and told me that it's just my vaginal opening that is small but once past there I am fine size-wise in my vagina so that is why he wants me to get to larger size dilator which right now terrifies me.   

When I was done today though he said he wnats to see me again in 5 months.  

So I will have had a pelvic exam in July 21 (MO), September 21 (RO), October 21 (MO), January 22 (MO), February 22 (RO), April 22 (MO), July 22 (MO) if I count evry 3 montsh with the MO. 

Is this excessive? 

It will be at leats 7 exams in a 12-month period.

Don't get me wrong - I am grateful to get good report today - but I thought all together one only needed a peplvic every 3 montsh for the first 2 years total either by the MO or RO but not both?  It's stressful. 

Also next time can I tell the RO that I only want the exam by one doctor not 2? 

Lastly I assume whatever discomfiort I am feeling right now post-exam wiill go away? I feel a bit violated. 

Thanks in advance.   






BluebirdOne's picture
Posts: 475
Joined: Jul 2018

my oncologists told me that they are really looking very carefully in the 1st 6 months after surgery and treatment internally to check if the cancer is recurring in the vagina. I don't remember if you had chemo. I checked my records and only had a pelvic exam by the RO on the day of the brachy, none before or after. At every general exam I have had an internal. So at first it was 4 times a year, now only two. I also go to a teaching hospital so I think my care is typical. Not knowing your history or details, it is hard to generalize how many pelvics are too many, but certainly you allowed to ask why so many if it seems excessive. I did have what seemed like the entire medical department observe before, during and after my brachys, including two medical students. Very embarassing, but they try to be very respectful and discreet, which is hard to do during brachy while so many eyes are on your hoohaw. LOL. I am sure others will be along to chime in. My internals have become quite painful due to lack of estrogen and inflamed tissues but they have now prescribed me cream which has helped a lot, which is appropriate because my tumor was not estorgen dependent. Good luck to you. 


woodstock99's picture
Posts: 116
Joined: May 2021

I did not have chemo. Just the 4 brachy.  There was a whole gaggle of medical staff before/during/after brachy but honestly that did not bother me.  Maybe I was so scared during the simulation and first treatment it was the leats of my worries and for the otehr 4 they went pretty quickly and everyone was very gracious and comforting. 

My pelvic floor therapist told me late this afternnoon to put a cold compres son pack over my clothes for 15 minutes tonight and tomorrow and don't do dilator until Thursday.  She said by the time I go back to see the RO in 5 months that I can get to size 5! 

Thanks Denise.  

Posts: 356
Joined: Feb 2004

I saw my gyn-onc every three months the first year after completing treatment, so that was four pelvic exams.  I also saw my rad-onc every six months the first year, so that would be another two exams, for a total of six.  I think that's on par with what you will be getting, because you included the month of July twice in your list, which would actually be a thirteen-month period, rather than a year.  The second year, I saw the gyn-onc every four months, so the number of exams decreased to five, and by the third year I only saw him every six months.  I stopped seeing my rad-onc after five years, but continued to see my gyn-onc every six months for fifteen years until his retirement. 

Posts: 92
Joined: Apr 2020

I see my gyn onc every 6 months (2 exams/year) and my Rad Onc every 6 months (4 exams--she's at a teaching hospital so one by her and one by a resident).  So that is 6 per year.  The first year after radiation ended I had a couple of extra exams until the schedule got routinized.  I am two years since diagnosis and 17 months since the end of treatment.  Stage 3C serous cancer.  So far NED.  The exams seem to be the best way to check for early signs of recurrence plus the CA125.  I think they are necessary.  Try to have a conversation about making them less uncomfortable, not less often.  That's my two cents worth.


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