Scan post treatment - YES OR NO???

My mum had stage three triple negative breast cancer. She had a mastectomy in December last year, 6 months of aggressive chemotherapy followed by a course of radiotherapy. Besides having a bone scan when first diagnosed she has not had any other scan.
Her oncologist stated she does not find a scan post treatment useful. Instead mum will rotate between seeing the oncologist and the surgeon every four months. Basically she waits and see if she develops any symptoms. In theory I can understand why a scan may show false positives and unnecessary tests and stress however I believe Mum feels she has had no closure after her course of treatment and is just waiting for a tumour to pop up somewhere? She has not had any "markers" taken - unsure of the terminology. I was hoping to get some feedback on whether I should encourage her to push for more tests - or hear from others as to whether scans etc created more stress and worry than they were worth.


  • socoda
    socoda Member Posts: 1,767
    Hi @Concerned Daughter, I had a mastectomy in June last year, no chemo or radiotherapy but hormone therapy and the first scan I have had since was a mammogram on remaining breast and an ultrasound on my foob - 12 months after surgery. I won't be having any other scans until next year when I will have a bone density before my tablets are swapped from tamoxifen to an Aromatase Inhibitor. I think I'll probably have another ultrasound and mammogram again then. It's funny because everything is go, go, go when someone is having active treatment and then there's nothing except appointments. The only thing I would recommend is to report any worries, changes if they occur. We all worry about recurrence but that's the beauty of being able to phone and make another appointment if anything crops up, either with Oncologist, Radiologist or GP. Hope this has helped a little bit. Wishing you both all the best. Xx Cath
  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
    These are the current recommendations. Some Drs choose to do other things. If there are concerns you speak with your treating team during check ups and then they determine if additiona investigation is needed. Bone density scans are common if in hormone treatment to monitor fir osteoporosis risks.
  • melclarity
    melclarity Member Posts: 3,524
    Hey @Concerned daughter what the Specialists are saying is actually correct. I've had it twice now and my last one in 2015, post treatment was bouncing between Surgeon and Oncologist every 3 months even now. They don't do further scans as they aren't useful, they don't tell you if treatment worked or not as we have no tests that actually detect anything until you've actually got Cancer. So they go back to yearly scans and only more than that if you feel there is something wrong. So she is being monitored closely as am I. Unless she feels extremely unwell that something is different to usual there isnt any tests to do. Seems odd I know, I didnt get it at first, I thought too Id be scanned constantly, but nope. So be guided by them, slowly but surely xx Melinda
  • HIT
    HIT Member Posts: 261
    Hello concerned daughter yes it feels like a really big let down at end of treatment.  I remember when my onc said to me you are cancer free at the end of chemo/ radio I thought "how do you know??  Were is the test results".  But as said it is the norm.  It is just the blood test, monitoring your general health and annual mammo / ultrasound.  But rest assured that if your Mum does mention anything they will get tests done - I mentioned a headache and had a brain scan next day, and mentioned leg pain and had another bone scan done!!   They walk a fine line these docs - as all these scans etc cause cancer ....   just makes you feel so warm and cuddly when those first lot of tests were all done.  Pretty much every one had a leaflet warning me it could cause cancer.  Fantastic that you are there for your Mum.  One thing that one of the chemo nurses said to me in the beginning "the majority of you ladies will never be back in here again".  I held onto that thought and still do now.
  • Brenda5
    Brenda5 Member Posts: 2,423
    I havent had any bone scans or ct scans post treatment. I do have ultrasound and mammogram fairly regularly. If I had any constant pain in one particular area for any length of time I would request a ct scan but apparently bone aches from Tamoxifen and tiredness don't qualify.
  • mum2jj
    mum2jj Member Posts: 4,332
    My cancer had spread to one lymph node and I had a recurrence and so I have had some scans done. I think because I was triple neg, fast growing and aggressive. I also suffer with lots of back pain. The girls are right though, and unless there are symptoms, they don’t tend to scan. I think with me they were waiting for it to rear it’s ugly head again after two diagnosis in quick succession followed by lots of back pain. 6years on and no evidence, except for a very arthritic back combined with scoliosis!
    paula xx
  • LMK74
    LMK74 Member Posts: 795
    I've had a bone scan and ct scan post chemo and surgery. Just as well because a lymph node has been found enlarged after axillary clearance. Now I have to do an extra week of radiation . Also chemo failed for me so follow up was necessary.
  • Unicornkisses
    Unicornkisses Member Posts: 402
    Oh, bugger @LMK74, you really have had a time of it!

    I hope things pick up for you now!

  • NaturalBel
    NaturalBel Member Posts: 542
    Here I am 5 years later from having been there in that type of situation similar to you Mum's.  Hang in there, and if you can, listen to the medical advice and ask on this website to give you reassurance and guidance.  It has been difficult, all the prodding and testing, and now for myself, once a year scan and mammogram.  Going back to life after they remove and treat, trying to behave as though all you had was something that is now gone, you found in time.  Take a very deep breath for your Mum and each day, fingers crossed, like me, she will be well.  Good luck love. xx