Should I stop my yearly check ups?

Portal Forums Lung/Thoracic Cancer Cancer Basics Survivorship and Follow-up Should I stop my yearly check ups?

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  sumer009 3 years, 5 months ago.

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April 15, 2013 at 9:47 pm  #1255684    


Hi Dr. West, I was diagnosed with mucus BAC in 2000. I had RUL and RML removed followed by concurrent chemo and radiation. I had 0.1mm margin in Hilar region. Nodes OK. No mets. Tumor was 12cmx6cmx5cm. I thought I was going to die, but here I am 12 years later.

Today I went in for my yearly check up. The last few years I’ve just been doing chest x-ray and blood draw. My oncologist was swamped so I saw a practitioner. He asked me why I was coming in every year. He said that I probably didn’t need to keep coming back unless I wanted to. He was going to check with my regular oncologist to see if I could skip the check up next year.

Can this be right? Do people actually stop going in for yearly check ups at some point? Is it really possible?


April 15, 2013 at 11:07 pm  #1255686    
Dr West
Dr West

There’s no rules on this because there’s no actual evidence of what to do several years out. Since there’s some risk from annual CT scans year after year after year, I tend to favor annual visits with a chest x-ray alternating with a chest CT every couple of years, potentially going out to a CT every three years. But even if the risk of the prior cancer recurring after more than 5-10 years is extraordinarily low, someone who had a prior cancer is at higher risk of developing a new cancer than someone who never had a lung cancer, so the scans eventually become more of a screening for a new cancer than surveillance for recurrence of the prior cancer. In fact, just this last week, I had a patient now 7 years out from initial management of a stage III NSCLC undergo an annual visit and chest x-ray that revealed a new lung nodule, confirmed by CT and then PET, and which turned out to be a new stage I lung cancer, now being resected and hopefully leading to another cure. And that’s why I’m continuing surveillance/screening.

-Dr. West

April 16, 2013 at 6:05 am  #1255693    


Oh darn…. I knew it was too good to be true. I will keep making appointments for my check ups. Takk skal du ha Dr. West! Barb

March 12, 2015 at 12:24 am  #1268870    



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