May 26, 2019 06:07AM - edited May 26, 2019 06:08AM by claireinaz
Right now, most MOs will order CBCs every follow up visit and look for particular values from those tests that indicate a problem. They will do a physical exam but I'd do those breast self exams yourself and check under your armpits too--every single month. It's fairly rare but b.c. can recur in the skin left after surgery. Mammos with ultrasound, or even better, MRIs are the gold standard to find recurrence since ILC has a tendency to hide from mere mammos. You can request a yearly MRI if your insurance will pay for it, but sometimes unless you have some indication of a problem area insurance companies won't. Do ask for both a mammo and US, though, every year.
My plastic surgeon ordered a breast MRI to see how my implants were doing--and I also found out that no detectable breast tissue was reported, so that made me happy. But the scan was ordered as a post-surgery check, and not to try to find any cancer.
My doc has me fill out a checklist regarding pain or other physical changes, and I suppose if I reported pain for more than 2 weeks or weight loss, he'd jump on that--but I'd have already known those symptoms were serious and have made an appt way before a regular follow up visit, of course.
I did request and get a blood test to check my estrogen levels; I wanted to see if they were being suppressed by my AI, so you could do that.
Most docs won't do a CTC--circulating tumor cell test (blood is drawn and tested for tumor cells)--because they aren't that accurate on their own. Kind of looking through a keyhole and seeing part of a room and thinking that you've seen the whole house, if you get my drift. Unless you can look at all our blood content at once, cells can be missed, or alternately a stray cell could be caught that hasn't yet been destroyed by our white cells, which happens in people who never had cancer in the first place.
In short, blood tests and physical exams with yearly scans of some kind are really the only follow up care for us. If you want something more, you have to ask for it particularly and be ready to justify why you want it.
Hope that helps! Others will weigh in on advice, too. (I don't know what a mesenry is--so you'll have to translate).
Claire in AZ