Day +62 Scanning Paradox #100DaysDIEP
In gunning for NED (no evidence of disease) today, I was hoping my medical oncologist might send me for scans to prove the lack of evidence. Scanning is a parodoxical, contentious and anxiety-inducing topic. Many people think that following a cancer diagnosis and treatment you’ll get routine scans to check that the blighter hasn’t come back or metastasised (spread to an area other than the first occurrence). That’s not necessarily the case for all cancers, and isn’t the case for me: it’s more complicated. Scanning protocols depend upon many, many things including the type of cancer, its sub-type, the stage, grade etc. etc. These need to be weighed up against what are currently viewed as the disadvantages of repeated scanning. It’s a Good Thing that I don’t need routine scans (other than of my breasts). My breast cancer subtype doesn’t warrant it, nor does my residual burden of disease after chemo (I didn’t have a complete pathological response because some cancer was left, but it was pretty much flattened). In October I’ll have my annual mammogram and ultrasound of my breasts and that’s it, unless something symptomatically suspicious crops up. This was all explained to me so patiently, openly and informatively by my med onc. They’re one of the toppest in the country, so I completely go with what they say. But, you know, there was still that inkling for a scan, just a wee one ... I did need a bone density scan today because it can be affected by my hormone therapy meds and the early menopause that I’ve been chucked into. All good, I thought. That’s not checking for cancer nasties. I can do that without any scanxiety! Hmmm, I wondered, will I need to get undressed? Let’s Google and find out… Then I came across a site that said bone density scans can show up cancer in the bones. Fuck. Fuck. That’s all I needed to know. Fuck you Dr Google. I need to be more careful what I have an inkling for.