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R there better tests? R there better tests?

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  #1  
Unread 02-17-2002, 04:45 PM
R there better tests?

I get a pap test every six month along with the wonderful internal exam to check for recurrance of Endometrial cancer. I had the full TAH/BSO. I've asked my doctor if any other tests are warranted. She says no - that other tests would only be done if I get an abnormal result on the pap.

So I am past my 1st year and go for my test regularlly but it just feels to me like there should be some other definitive tests out there. I guess I question the pap since my original pap test didn't reveal the cancer I had. Or maybe it was my previous Doctor who told me there was nothing wrong with me and it was normal to constantly be bleeding.

Is anyone aware of other tests that can be taken or is this another case where not enough research has been done on women's health issues? I would appreciate any suggestions others may have. I find myself growing more concerned in post year 2 and 3 as that is when my Dr says recurance is more likely to happen, if it does at all. thanks
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  #2  
Unread 02-17-2002, 05:55 PM
R there better tests?

HELLO JUNE,

I ALSO HAD A FULL TAH/BSO, SO I AM VERY INTERESTED NOW.

I WANT TO KNOW HOW ENDOMETRIAL CANCER CAN RETURN IF EVERYTHING IS GONE??

DOES THIS MEAN IT CAN RETURN TO THE INTERIOR WALLS??

I NEVER THOUGHT OF ASKING MY GYNE. I WAS TOLD THAT THIS TYPE WAS CONTAINED ONLY TO THE UTERINE LINING.

I DO HOPE YOU GET SOME INFO ON THIS , I WILL BE FOLLOWING FOR POST.

S
  #3  
Unread 02-18-2002, 01:33 AM
R there better tests?

Not sure about endometrial cancer recurring but I know that cervical cancer can occur anywhere on the vaginal wall or external genital ( even the anus ).

As to what kind of test can be done... in my case after radiation, my oncologist says that paps can sometimes come back as false positive because of scarring. He doesnt tend to do them until a little further along the track. He just has a look and sometimes performs a colposcopy. I guess we all just have to trust our oncologists judgement and knowledge. This is so hard sometimes though. I have alot of what ifs that go around in my head.

I go for my 3 mths checkup soon, so I am going to pick his brains love ya all lots x x
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  #4  
Unread 02-18-2002, 07:17 AM
Hi June!

Congratulations on one year cancer free! Woo hoo! That's news we all like to hear about our sisters.

I had uterine cancer, similar to endometrial in many ways. A Pap smear that we used to have before we had a hyst only detected cancer cells on the cervix, not the uterine walls. My last Pap before I had surgery was normal. I had several uterine biopsies {OUCH} that all came back normal, too. My Dr. did a D and C then as she did not want to miss anything and I had been bleeding for many months. The D and C is where she found the cancer.

I am on the 3 year plan, every 3 months for 3 years I will get a vaginal vault Pap. The walls of the vaginal vault are scraped in a similar fashion as the cervical pap's we used to get. That is where any cancer cells would be detected now as we have no cervix and no uterus. Oh..and no ovaries. If we had ovaries, a CA125 blood test **can** be an indicator of ovarian cancer, but often sends false readings. They also use CA125 for breast cancer detection. It is a very unreliable tool and a new blood test is being developed to detect ovarian cancer.

Other than blood work and vaginal vault smears, there is no other diagnostic tool to detect cancer cells after a TAH/BSO that I am aware of, but I have no medical background, just ask alot of questions and do alot of reading. With endometrial and uterine cancer, if it has not invaded the nodes or more than 1/3 of the uterine wall, they pretty much declare you 'cured' and keep an eye on you.

If you begin having pain, bleeding or any other abnormal symptoms they would then biopsy nodes, etc, but these are invasive procedures and not routinely used without other indications of a problem, ie, symptoms.

To set your mind at ease, my Dr. told me if any other cancer cells were at work, they normally show up in the vaginal vault first. There are always exceptions to every rule of thumb, but unless I have other symptoms or find any lumps, etc, in that area, I am going to assume I am cured and just make sure I go to all my checkups.

Of course I have my 'cancer head' days when I am consumed with worry, usually the week before a checkup. I even started thinking it might be cancer of the toe when I had a simple ingrown toenail starting, so I am not without my crazed moments, but for the most part I try to remember that mine was caught early, removed, and that I just need to be aware of body changes. And I am very grateful for this grace of health now.

June....I am sorry I rambled. I just wanted to let you know that we all have our worry days. You are not alone. We are all here for you. And if we hear of any new testing one of us will post it here.

Wishing you perfect checkups forever!

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

kaatie
  #5  
Unread 02-18-2002, 09:50 AM
R there better tests?

I will tell you a little of what I have been told. I think a big help is your pathology report. There are two parts to the uterus, the corpus and the cervix. Endometrial cancer is of the corpus part of your uterus. Your staging is a pretty good tool for understanding the prognosis. Right away when my onco/gyn saw the staging, she said I would require radiation. Off to the onco/radiologists. The radiologist was able to determine that my Stage II cancer was less invasive than most Stage I cancers. Unfortunately it tiptoed into the cervix making me stage IIA. Any endometrial cancer spread to the cervix automatically becomes Stage II. It spread very superficially. Because she knew it was less than 10% invasion along with clear nodes(which I requested be taken), margins, blood vessels and cervical stroma, that the radiation was not required, but it was my option. Your report has given your doctor the information he needs to treat you. Your pap smears will detect if the cancer has spread to your vaginal cuff.
  #6  
Unread 02-20-2002, 09:01 AM
hello

Does the new PET scan help you in your follow ups? Just wondering. RobinS
  #7  
Unread 03-22-2002, 08:25 PM
R there better tests?

I did get a copy of the pathology report. I'll dig it up and take a look at it.

What is a PET scan?
  #8  
Unread 03-22-2002, 09:41 PM
R there better tests?

Hi June!

I found this article on PET scan during a search that you might find helpful. It sounds like its being used pretty effectively in monitoring for various cancer types. My oncologist is having me have a yearly CT Scan along with my three month blood work checkups.

http://www.nationalpetscan.com/petthrpy.htm

Hope this helps.

{{Hugs}}

Vicki
  #9  
Unread 03-23-2002, 07:56 AM
Pet Scan Info

UofW PET Scan Info

From the UofWashington Medical Breakthrough online magazine

PET Scans Reveal Details
"Sarcomas are the one tumor that'll make a fool out of a doctor because it's very difficult to distinguish the benign from the malignant," says Dr. Conrad.


Dr. David Mankoff
"PET scans don't replace CT scans or MRIs, but they are highly complementary in that they can find cancer, monitor cancer's response to treatment, and answer questions about cancer when biopsies aren't an option or if there's a suspicion of cancer not found by other means," says Dr. David Mankoff, UW assistant professor or radiology.

Doctors inject a drug "labeled" with an imaging radioisotope that emits positrons. The positrons, actually high-energy photons similiar to X-rays, can be seen by a tomograph, a very sensitive imaging device.

The drug is taken up by specific sites or processes in the body. For example, a labeled type of glucose, a sugar, shows which tissues are actively using glucose to fuel growth. The positron emitting radiolabel is imaged by the PET scanner to find the location and behavior of the labeled drug in the body. The images are then produced in 3-D on a computer.

"We observe how the drug with the radiolabel is used and where it goes," says Dr. Janet Eary, professor of nuclear medicine at UW. "In cancer, the drugs we use are taken up more by cancer than by other tissues, so we can image cancer very accurately," she says.

"When we use PET, we consider the patient's whole history to find the answers," says Dr. Hubert Vesselle, UW assistant professor of radiology.

In a pilot study conducted at the UW, PET was found to make a change in cancer patient's medical management 50 percent of the time.

"PET scans offer a quantitative look at the body's biochemistry in combination with body structure," says Dr. Mankoff.

PET is very thorough, according to Dr. Eary. "Instead of comparing patient results to other patient results, PET scans compare the same view of a patient taken at different times to detect change. It gives physiologic and anatomic detail of what's going on inside the body. Interpretations come from the findings of all the tests, including PET scans, to come up with a complete, sound diagnoses," she says.

PET scans reveal more than just cancer. Doctors study organs like the liver and the heart, or diseases like diabetes and AIDS with PET. Physicians use 3-D diagnostic images to measure the relationship between form and function of many organs and arteries. It even helps physicians guide needles to suspected tumors where small samples, once retrieved, will be evaluated by pathologists for possible malignancies.

Hope this helps. Try searching for their webpage.
Take Care - RobinS
  #10  
Unread 03-23-2002, 08:02 AM
R there better tests?

Hi June,
So here is what I know about endo cancer.......from research and my docs.....
endo cancer has grades as well as stages, mine was a STAGE IIB, GRADE 2.
Grade 1 would be the least aggressive, therefore the least dangerous, and of course grade 3 would be the most aggressive, that would be if your path report said "poorly differentiated"...

if your path said "well differentiated" that is what you want (that is if you have to have cancer).

Of course grade 2, is somewhere in between.
Mine was a stage 2B, because my cervix was involved and not just superficially.
My radiologist is not concerned, because he said "it is cureable".
The oncologist when he does an internal, checks for tumors along the vaginal cuff, and I also get checked up the other end as well, he checks for tumors along the back end of where the uterus once was
......ok, so now what do I think.....I think this all stinks that at 38, I have to think of all this......but once I get over that....I worry not so much of the recurrence of this cancer, but of the arrival or diagnosis of a different one. The other info that I have is when you have had a diagnosis of cancer, well then you obviously must have the propensity to get cancer.....so I sometimes feel that I am just waiting for the next diagnosis. Sad but true....I guess this is just how it is after you have been diagnosed. Hopefully with time it does get better.
You see I was really hoping to be a able to live to see grandchildren.
I guess we all feel the same way. Of course they all tell us that we can't live our lives waiting for the next bomb to drop, however when you have had a cancer diagnosis, it is hard not to. I just hope and pray that but the time I am next dignosed the medical world will be much more advanced. I worry for my son...his grandfather died of cancer (my dad)...., I was diagnosed.....I just would hate for him to have to live this horror, as well.
I believe I have said enough for now...whew
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