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Thread: Cancer Survivors: How often do you visit your oncologist?

  1. #1
    Experienced User
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Cancer Survivors: How often do you visit your oncologist?

    I am curious to know just how often survivors continue visiting their oncologists. It seems to me that the absence of cancer should not be regarded as "cured" and that regular visits should be the mainstay of any cancer survivors post-cancer regimen.

    God knows that recurrence is a possible fact of life and that careful and preemptive vigilance should be a part of making certain that this insidious disease does not take hold again or is contained as much as possible.

    I have and hope that my wife's regimen will involve monthly blood tests (CA2729) at least. And scans every quarter at least. I pray that our insurance company is more proactive and better suited to preventative measures in this regard.

    Thank you.
    Dallas, TX

  2. #2
    Here the regime for uncomplicated cases is three-monthly visits for the first year, 6-monthly for the following 4 years, and then, if no sign of recurrence, discharged.

    Mammograms are generally carried out annually for women between 45 and 65.

  3. #3
    Experienced User
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    I apologize, but I just want to make certain I understood your response. So, one visits every 3 months during the 1st year and every 6 months during the next 4 years? Do any of these visits involve MRI, PET scans? CA2729 checks?

    Also, in the UK, mammograms are from age 45-65? Is that the recommendation of the British health officials? In the USA, mammograms are recommended beginning at age 40.

    Thank you.
    Dallas, TX

  4. #4
    That's right. That is the standard in most NHS treatment centres.

    Scans would not be ordered unless there was a suspicion of something developing.

    As to breast screening, there is much discussion about its value below the age of 50 here or over 70. There is [as always in the NHS] an element of economics but also a belief that below the age of 45, regular screening is not a useful diagnostic tool. However, there is a lobby group pushing hard for mammograms to apply to women as young as 25. Incidentally, I checked out the NHS information and find I misremembered their guidelines - it is every three years unless there is a reason for more frequent checks. I am off the register now, so had not kept up to date.

  5. #5
    Experienced User
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Thanks Vee.

    My wife was 39 when she was diagnosed with stage iv and medical records of past OBGYN indicates (and she remembers) that she had expressed concern about a lump in her breast 2-years prior to that. That's another story...

    I think it criminal that as women are getting breast cancer younger than even 40 (and my wife's oncologist says that he is seeing younger and younger women diagnosed, not necessarily more) that there isn't even something as simple as a yearly mammogram recommended for preventative measures.

    I pray that this lobby group gets something in terms of reasonable and sensible preventative care/mammograms. I wonder if there is a group here that is doing the same? Imagine how much the insurance company would have "saved" if my wife was in the midst of routine, covered mammograms? No guarantee, but I am certain that something would have been detected long before her diagnosis.

    Thank you.
    Dallas, TX

  6. #6
    One of the problems with mammograms is that the tissue in the breast of young women is dense, and that therefore it is less likely that a problem is identified merely from the mammogram itself. That is why there is so much emphasis on regular [emphasise "regular"] self-examination.

    Until a means of scanning is developed that is more sensitive and less invasive, I suspect that restrictions on using mammograms will continue. There are hopeful signs of new techniques being developed that will be viable and will not be restricted by age.

  7. #7
    I know that I do not have breast cancer so my schedule is probably significantly different from yours. For the first year, I was seeing him it seemed like weekly. I did see the radiation oncologist weekly for about three months. After a year, my visits to my oncologist ended. My routine care is through my neurosurgeon, neurologist, and GP. I see the neurologist and GR once a year and the neurosurgeon about once every nine months for an MRI. I expect that he too will only want to see me once a year soon.

    My point is this, the frequency of visits depends on a number of things but in general it decreases with time and on how fast the patient recovers.
    Long-term cancer survivor
    1992 Astrocytoma grade 2, left motor strip
    2005 Recurrence this time said to be an Oligodendroglioma grade 3, same location.
    My Story Part 1: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=2528
    My Story Part 2: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?p=7350
    My Story Part 3: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=8029


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