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Follow-up X-rays after Lung Resection

Follow-up X-rays after Lung Resection

Question

I had a lung removed, and my cancer was staged as T2N0M0. My course of treatment is a CT scan every six months. I have read about other people with the same stage who are receiving a CT scan every three months. I am nervous about the frequency of my CT scans but do not want my doctor to think I am questioning him unless I have to. Should I be concerned about the frequency of my scans and would it be bad form to ask him?

Answer

Joseph B. Shrager, MD, Thoracic Surgeon, responds:

Obtaining a CT scan every 6 months is a very reasonable way to follow you after resection of a T2N0M0 lung cancer. In fact, this is my means of following patients postoperatively. There is no evidence that any other way of following you, such as more frequent scans or using PET scans, is any more advantageous. Some surgeons prefer surveillance scans every 3 months after surgery, while others wait every 6 months. Let the surgeon know about your concerns. I do not think any surgeon would take issue to discussing this topic with you in detail. If he does, find someone else to follow you.