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If a reoccurrence shows in the bloodwork first, why do I need surveillance CTs?

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  • If a reoccurrence shows in the bloodwork first, why do I need surveillance CTs?

    I am just a few days shy of my two year remission anniversary. Up to this point, I have been getting bloodwork and CT scans every 3 months. Now my doctor wants to do bloodword every 3 months and CTs every 6 months. She told me that ?a reoccurrence will show up in the bloodwork first before a CT scan.? After leaving the office, I thought about it. If that statement is true, why have I been getting CTs every 3 months ?

    I had Stage II non-seminoma with one tumor near the kidney. Treated with 2 x BEP and 2 EP. My doctors and a second opinion recommended to NOT get a RPLND to maintain fertility. There is no evidence of the tumor on the CT scans anymore.

    What are your thoughts?
    Cams Live
    Last edited by BeachTech; 08-11-11, 11:27 PM.
    Diagnosed May 2005
    Stage IIa
    Pure Embryonic Carcinoma
    One 2.0cm tumor in testicle
    One 1.0cm tumor in lymph node

    Radical orchiectomy
    Two cycles of BEP
    Two cycles of EP (the Bleo was causing lung issues)

    Pulmonary Embolism (Almost died)
    Extremely low red blood count (Required 4 blood transfusion)

    In remission since August 2005
    July 2011-tumor markers clean!

    Favorite Question
    "Which testicle did they remove?"

  • #2
    TC, even embryonal cell does not always produce markers. For my first TC, the tumor was primarily embryonal, but my markers were always negative.

    Big congrats on being two years out and all clear!!!!
    Right I/O 4/22/1988
    RPLND 6/20/1988
    Left I/O 9/17/2003

    Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will; to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


    • #3
      just reinforcing what fish wrote...I had embryonal with no markers initially...

      when the markers rose, they were low (AFP normal, bhcg 4.6)...and if a ct scan showed nothing they would have monitored...

      but the CT scan showed an enlarged chemo it was...

      plus blood work much less invasive...and there are other things that can cause markers to go up slightly...einhorn wrote me and said some men will show low levels of bhcg and never have tc.
      - lump first noticed 11/20/2005
      - I/O right Dec 8, 2005
      - 95% embryonal / 5% seminoma
      - normal markers PRE surgery
      - no vascular invasion, tunica free of cancer, epididymis free of cancer, lungs free, lymph free
      - Stage I diagnosis
      - surveillance
      - mid feb '06, beta hcg slightly elevated = 4.6...small enlarged lower node seen on CT scan...
      - 3BEP began feb 20, 2006
      - finished 3 BEP, last bleo, april 17, 2006
      - CT scan, blood markers, chest..all clear
      - back on surveillance


      • #4
        You definitely want to check with both imaging and blood tests. After a complete response to chemotherapy, in your third year of surveillance, the NCCN guidelines recommend blood tests and a chest x-ray every 4 months and a CT scan every 12 months.
        right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since

        Your donation funds Livestrong services for people facing cancer now. Please sponsor my ride!


        • #5
          Hi Beachtech,

          My son had a lung met (EC) untreated for 5 months because his markers were normal. CT scan picked it up when it was 5mm but because his markers were normal it was dismissed as a granuloma(I think that's what they called it)
          He's now on the same surveillance schedule as you and I'm uneasy about it. Some tumours might not be big enough to emit measurable markers but a series of ct scans will show changes.... my thoughts, Lynne