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How useful are Blood Reports and XRay / Ultrasound in MBC

Am concerned as my MO believes that frequent scans should be done in MBC if there are any symptoms, he relies on Blood tests and XRays / Ultrasound, so I have not got scans done for 6 months.

Are normal blood and ultrasound etc reliable indicators? I have had Bone, Liver and Lung mets which got completely resolved with Ibrance


  • mswife
    mswife Member Posts: 61

    I’m certainly aware of MOs not doing routine scanning for earlier stages, but it seems pretty routine with MBC to have scans every 4-6 months to evaluate treatment response and possible progression. Things like labs (calcium, liver enzymes, tumor markers) and X-rays and ultrasounds would give some info, but I don’t think it would be as good as a CT. Bone Mets can be tricky regardless - they tend to keep the same appearance - I believe the reason bone-only mets aren’t often included in trials is that it’s hard to measure interval change according to the RECIST criteria.

    there is of course the consideration of scanxiety, and the negative effects of waiting for results, particularly if you’re feeling well and your labs are normal.

    what has your MO given you as the rationale for the investigations he/she has chosen?

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,148

    My MO watches my tumor markers, and annual PETct. Until this past June, when my tumor markers jumped. He called it concerning, another scan. Yep, it’s back, 3rd time, in my bones now. He won’t order again until time for my annual or the markers don’t come down. I had no pain, and never would have known if not for the blood work. So for me, I’d say they work.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,630

    I initially had PET scans every 3-4 minutes months but about year 5, moved to semi annual and then annual. My facility has never done tumor markers. I think there may be variations depending on one’s individual situation. My mo will not hesitate to scan if I have any physical complaints as has happened occasionally. TBH, I am a lot happier and more relaxed without the frequent routine scanning.

  • malebreastc
    malebreastc Member Posts: 80

    Thanks for your responses, my MO believes that since I had complete resolution with Ibrance and since my kidney and liver reports are normal, he would order scans only once a year. Unless of course if i have any bone pain or other symptoms

  • sf-cakes
    sf-cakes Member Posts: 502

    Hi malebreastc, would you say a bit more about "complete resolution"? I have heard of other MBC patients being told "no evidence of active disease", but your term is a new one. Did your doctor make a distinction about what that means?

  • malebreastc
    malebreastc Member Posts: 80

    Hi sf cakes

    the pet scan showed that the lesions in my liver, kidney had cleared and bones also showed clearing of lesions with a healing response. The radiologist wrote a conclusion as complete response and resolution of lesions. My understanding would be that it is same as NED.