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Topic: After care - how often to see oncologist?

Forum: Moving Beyond Cancer — Getting on with the rest of your life, from rediscovering intimacy to coping with hot flashes.

Posted on: Jan 29, 2010 11:02AM

jduncan02 wrote:

I am a 2 yr. survivor who had bilateral cancer, mastectomy and reconstruction surgery w/o having to go through chemo or radiation.  I know - I'm very lucky! 

My question is this:  how often do I need to actually see my oncologist?  He has me come in for blood tests, that's fine, but I think the office visits are unnecessary unless he sees something in my blood tests he doesn't like.  I don't particularly like him or his staff and don't think it wise to switch oncologists - but just wondering what others are experiencing as far as frequency of visits.  Thanks.

indylady

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Posts 1 - 7 (7 total)

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Jan 29, 2010 11:11AM lexislove wrote:

Its been almost 2.5 yrs since being diagnosed.

I see my onc every 3 months, but I think it mostly has to do with the fact I get Lupron shots.

I have blood taken, ect...my whole appointment lasts no more than 10 minutes really.

Dx:2007, 2B, Triple+, June 2008:Lupron,Zometa,Tamox.Jan 2010:Poor metabolizer of Tamox switch to Femara.Feb 2010: cyp2d6 test reliable? Back to Tamox. Ooph soon.
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Jan 29, 2010 11:47AM , edited Nov 23, 2010 11:17PM by grdnslve

This Post was deleted by grdnslve.
delayed diep june 27, 2011 Dx 11/19/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 29, 2010 06:39PM C130sunshine wrote:

It think it also depends on your provider.  Since I am high risk for recurrence I will see my oncologist every 3 months for 3 years then every 6 months for 2 years then he recommends once a year for the rest of my life.

grdnslve is correct they want to actually see you....the research I have done on recurrence is showing the individual will notice slight changes in their health before most of the tests will show anything.   I am only a year our from my last rad treatment, so far I still get a physical exam.  Will have to see if that changes in the soming months.

If you don't like your porvider or the staff....I say switch.  There is no reason to stay with (and pay) someone you don't trust.  You need to do what is best for you.....not him.

good luck

C130sunshine Dx 4/4/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 29, 2010 09:49PM , edited Jan 29, 2010 09:51PM by iodine

I believe that we and the med. professionals depend too greatly on testing in the first place.  But a  f/u onc. appt is mostly spent talking, with some minor physical exams.  What we are paying for and should demand, is that our onc know us well enough to ask the right questions and hopefully, in routine discussion with us, determine if anything is "off" and needs further investigation or not.

I totally agree with the above: You don't like the doc OR his staff.  What's to encourage you to call with "little" questions or concerns?  Nothing----absolutley nothing.  What's to encourage Him (or his staff) to f/u with You about something you disucssed in the office visit.  Nothing.

May I say; If you don't trust the doc to follow you After diagnosis, what makes you trust him enough to allow him to treat you if (heaven forbid) diagnosed again?  OR, even trust him to find a second breast cancer or mets?

Please reconsider and find a new onc that you feel comfortable with.  Then you'll not be wondering what's "normal" follow up, ----  he/she and you will have already discussed it.  Ya think?

Dotti---BE NOT AFRAID, Pope John Paul
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Feb 1, 2010 11:03AM glendag wrote:

I am 18 months out from BM and DIEP reconstruction and see my oncologist every 3 months.  He hasn't ever done a breast exam though.  I see my primary care - she does a "breast exam". I am wondering about follow-up with the breast surgeon-does anyone continue to see their breast surgeon or surgical oncologist after BM? If so how often? 

I agree it is really important to have a good relationship with your oncologist and to feel comfortable with him or her.

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Feb 1, 2010 09:41PM iodine wrote:

A "breast" exam is not indicated since you don't actually have breasts.  My onc would examine my suture line and underarms and areas around the foob.  that's where any possible breast tissue could have been left, so they are feeling for any change in the tissue.

My actual breast surgeon turned me over to my first ps and never expected to see me again since path report said ER Neg.  I had it redone at another lab and it turned out ER pos. so I chose to go to another university for onc. treatment.

I was seen a year or so later for a scare in the good boob, and this breast surgeon wanted to see me every 3 months for a couple of years and then yearly after my mammo to give me the same results the radiologst did, and a far from satisfactory exam. (for life, I think!)  I finally got tired of going and asked my pcp to be responsible for my mammo orders and f/u.  He's a gen. surgeon and, strangly, does a rather poor breast exam on the good AND bad side.  Since I'm over 7 years out from dx., I just depend on his yearly exam along with a good mammo. 

I feel very comfortable returning or calling my onc if I have any concerns at all tho.  I've not seen him in a couple of years.

Dotti---BE NOT AFRAID, Pope John Paul
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Jun 25, 2011 10:37AM mrave0 wrote:

It's been a little over 4 years since my breast cancer. I was wondering is there any final testing the doctor should do to declare me cancer free at my 5 year mark.

Gwen Ravellette Dx 4/8/2007, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+, HER2-