Do oncologists check if you have metastasized breast cancer?

4 answers | Last updated: Feb 04, 2015
Misschrissie asked...

Do oncologists check if you have metastasized breast cancer? I have a recurrence of breast cancer in the same breast. Ten years ago I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. This time, I had a mastectomy and I'm taking Arimidex. There have been no other blood work or scans this time (other than a yearly mammogram for the other breast). Is this normal?

Community Answers

Donnalou57 answered...

I am a survivor and not a doctor, but I don't think this is normal. I was dx 8 years ago and I see my oncologist at least every 6 months and right now because of a blood clot, I am seeing him every 3 months. I get scans and tumor marker  blood work. I would talk to your oncologist and ask him or her, why you aren't being tested. If they don't give you an answer you are  comfortable with I would consider seeing another oncologist. After all it is your life and and you are already having a recurrance, Please don't wait until it spreads some where else.

Energylite answered...

I am also an 8 yr survivor of breast cancer. Although I only had to have a lumpectomy, I still see my oncologist (annually now) and still have bilateral, extensive mammograms, And still see my surgeon (about every 2 yrs). There is no way (nor will my doctors allow me to think so) that I will every think I'm no longer at risk. My surgeon is a prostrate cancer survivor and he understands the importance of staying in touch, getting tested, examined, etc. My oncologist does blood work every 2 years. If I were having any odd symptoms, I know they would be on top of it immediately. So, if your doctor is not treating you like his own sister or daughter, maybe you need to find another. Better to feel like you see your docs more than necessary; better to feel they draw blood more than necessary - all these things. This is your LIFE and they must appreciate it, understand your fears, and address each of them immediately.

Barbara500 answered...

I am a four-year breast cancer survivor, and can I ever understand this question! My lump was a 3A--my oncologist said he classified it as a 2, and that he expected it to be fully cured. Because I went thru chemo before my mastectomy, any evidence that the cancer might have spread (when the mastectomy was done) was erased. I see my oncologist every six months and blood work is done every time. My oncologist (the #1 doctor in his practice) is the only one in his practice who does not order body scans to see if the cancer has returned. When I asked why he doesn't order the scans, he said that the scans come up with many false-positives, and he doesn't believe the potential stress from doing additional testing for false-positives is worth it. It may be that your oncologist has decided that the stress of getting false-positive readings isn't worth it. I am like you, though, it's difficult to accept that this is normal when, if there were a recurrence, there may be a treatment that would extend your life, whereas if you find out very late, there may be little that can be done. If this is really bothering you, get a second opinion, or switch doctors. Every day is precious when you are a survivor! God bless you!

Stilldreamin' answered...

I was diagnosed 1 year and 1 month ago with metastatic breast cancer. Went in for what I thought was a pulled muscle in my upper back and got the diagnosis that it already was in my bones, bone marrow, lungs and liver...I had no earlier symtoms, the oncologist didn't recommend any surgery, just started chemo, then Arimidex, then Faslodex and now a different chemo. I'm not sure if that is the best decision or not. (I did go to the hospital 6 months earlier for that pulled muscle feeling and they gave me pain pills and told me not to overwork myself for a couple of weeks). This doctor looked up my past visit & Xray from 6 months ago and certainly saw the spot already in my lungs. So anyone reading this...if you have or know anyone with upper back pain that lasts for any length of time GET IT CHECKED OUT, PLEASE.

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