scans-should i have had one?

Hi all,

Just a quick question, on reading lots of your messages on here it seems that most of you have had scans done to check tha tthe cancer hasn’t spread to other areas I haven’t been offered any at all-getting a bit concerned now because how do the doctors know that they’ve got it all?

I had wide local excision lumpectomy and axillary lymph node clearance (i think that’s what its called!), 3xFEC and 3xTAX which finished last week, and i’ve got RADS starting at the end of this month.

The ONC told me that 2 out of 10 lymph nodes were cancerous but that’s all-please tell me i’m worrying for nothng??

Thanks ladies

Tracy xx

Hi Tracey, all i know is that a scan can only pick up a mass that is at least the size of a small finger nail, and the treatment you have had should have got rid of anything nasty that was knocking around, and the rads should do the rest, (also if your going to go onto hormone treatment after rads, then that blocks as well) i know i was a little unsure about some aspects of my treatment, and my bc nurse arranged for me to see the onc again very quickly which gave me the opportunity to ask the questions that i really wanted to know the answers too. talk to your bc nurse, or ring the helpline on here, it might just put your mind at rest

Alison xxx

Hi Floody38

It may help if you contact our helpline for a chat with one of our specialist nurses regarding the concerns you have about whether you need further scans or do speak to your breast care nurse if you are able, as Alison has kindly suggested. The helpline number is 0808 800 6000 and it is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-2pm.

Best wishes

Breast Cancer Care

Hello Tracy

My treatment seems to be very similar to yours WLE and axillary node clearance and 2 positive nodes.

  • 3 x FEC 3 x Taxotere, Rads. I’m also Er+/PR+ and HER2+ so am now on Herceptin and Aromasin. Apart from the mammogram and ultrasound when I was diagnosed I wasn’t offered any other scans.

I was also told - as Alison has said above - that my treatment should have dealt with any nasty bits that were left.
Take care
Love Anthi

Thanks Alison and Anthi,

Don’t know why i’ve started to panic this late in the day-it’s just been praying on my mind for some reason!
I think i do need to talk to my bc nurse as i vaguely remember Herceptin and Tamoxifen being mentioned right at the beginning before my op but the details are all very sketchy!!
Like you say surely the chemo/rads will get rid of anything lingering!!

Sorry for panicking!!

Thank you Lucy (moderator) too, I will give the helpline a call

Tracy xx

Hi Tracey, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t panic, i’m convinced my onc thinks i’m obsessed, but as long as i get the answers, then i feel happier in myself, so don’t wait, get on that phone on monday and get your questions answered, they are there for us, even if we feel we’re taking their time, we aren’t, don’t ever forget that.

Alison xxxxxxxx

Hi Alison

I will do definitely,it’s silly to sit here worrying isn’t it? All the time ive been having the chemo ive not had a care in the world! How weird that the panic set in at this late stage!!

Thank you for your support,
Tracy xxx

Your more than welcome Tracey, life’s hard enough without extra worry on top

Alison xxx

Hi Tracey,

I had a WLE - 16 out of 20 nodes and surrounding tissues affected. I have not had any scans my onc told me that they only pick up tumours that are already well established. Before I have each dose of chemo they do blood chemisty test for bones, liver, kidneys. These are much more sensitive and will pick up any abnormalities much earlier that a scan.

do talk to your medical team or the helpline if you need to talk this through. They are there to support you.

hope this helps - all the best with your treatment love Swanie.

HI Tracey
I had the same as you WLE plus sentinal node. 2 nodes affected
Was told i would be having 3 x FEC then 3 x taxotere plus rads
Told before i started chemo i had to have a bone scan and a CAT scan. They give this to all women at my hospital before they start chemo as a matter of routine. I am glad they did as it picked up secondary cancer in my hip
I am her neg but oestraogen positive so after rads will be having tamoxifen and also treatment fr my bone cancer

Hi Tracey

I was dx on 16 July with bc, and was told then had to have core biopsy, an MRI scan, a ct scan and bone scan. These were all done within a week, and unfortunately 10 days after first diagnosis was told had spread onto my liver. I am having 3 x FEC and 3 x Taxotere (started chemo on 8 Aug). I am HER2+, and so may be given Herceptin after chemo. Got appointment with onc on 12th Sept, not sure why, but must be routine follow up.

Anyway hope you are OK.

Take care

Hi Jools,

Well apart from the fact that you were given a bone/CAT scan we seem much the same don’t we? I wonder why some hospitals give these as matter of course and others don’t? i’m also HER2- but oestrogen receptor + so will be starting on Tamoxifen for 5yrs once my rads start next week. I did have a CT scan this tues when i went for my simulator appt so maybe that’s all i need? Good luck with the rest of your treatment hun.

Hi too to Dawn and Swanie,
Thank you for your info and good luck to you both with all your treatments too,

Take care all

Tracy xx


it seems to be different where you live, my health authority will not order further scans unless you are showing signs of spread, I also had large lump 8cm and 15/20 nodes and had quite a heated discussion with my onc on scans when she explained my path report and prognosis. (basically I was daring her to proove it). But after calming down and doing research myself I can see that what she advised me seems to be logical, even the most sophisticated scan machine can only pick up the size of small finger nail and this is a tumour not stray cancer cells, but I now know what she was really getting at is the biggy, did I really want to be diagnosed as terminal with all the difficulties this can carry if I was not going to be affected for several years or if the treatment can hold it off. My onc is very straight talking if she felt I had spread and I needed further treatment then I would have been tested. I had 8 chemo sessions, 18 herceptin, 25 rads to 3 areas and 5 year tamoxifen (and this was before taxotere and herceptin were licensed by NICE for primary) and at this time I was the first not to be on a trial as my health authority were one of the ones being taken to court, so I know from the cost of my treatment it wan’st the budget refusing the scans. My Onc was adamant treatment was better option than false hope scans.

So got my head around the above and have had regular blood tests during treatment and good old prods to be told all is well then met the plastic surgeon, I have now been advised he will not operate until I have further scans, so my Onc has now telephoned me to advise I need spine, liver and chest scans which she feels will be fine, is not happy to pander to a surgeon but realises that I wont get op without them, so now reluctanty having the scans I so wanted at the start of this but now realising the consequence of results.

Personally I felt better having faith in good treatment plan but I so want 2 boobs again.

Debbie X