thank you for your excellent question. Medical folks have been debating the role and frequency of follow up after a cancer diagnosis for a long time.
The standard answer is that
75% of recurrences happen in the first 2 years; 90% occurr by 5 years
so follow up is fashioned as follows:
exams and CA 125 tests every 3-4 months for the first three years
exama and CA125 every 6 months for the next 2 years
at 5 years exams and testing could be yearly
however for women with ovarian cancer, I usually recommend continued every six month surveillance
there is not alot of data one way or the other to support this recommendation
CA 125 is thought to be a good test for evaluation of recurrence. I think it is also important to be sure you are getting screening for other cancers such as breast and colon
best wishes and please stay in touch
Dear Dr Goodman,
Thankyou so much for answering my question, you are very generous with your time and it is very much appreciated.
Hello there. I too was diagnosed in 2006, Stage 1A Clear Cell, had excellent surgery (complete TAH/BSO) only positive cancer was found on inside of one cyst on right ovary, six cycles of chemo, CA 125 has always hovered between 3 and 7. Have PET/CT scans routinely, routine physician visits, CA125, etc, but I was a bit disturbed to see that you say that there is a 90% chance of re-occurence at 5 years? 75% before that? I know there isn't a crystal ball, but I've never seen those type of stats before and it was a bit unnerving. I know to keep monitoring on breast (get routine mammos) and I know I should be getting a colonoscopy sooner (I am 44), but should I be doing something else? Thanks for any additional information you can provide. Jane
thank youso much for your question. You are right to ask for a clarification
statistics can be very confusing and misleading.
actually: for the people with cancer who EXPERIENCE a recurrence,
75% will have their recurrence by two years and 90 % will have a recurrences by 5 years.
that is different than saying: of everyone who has a cancer, 75% will recur in 2 years etc
clearly, that is not the case.
I do not think wrote this very clearly in my last post and I apologize for the confusion!! Thank you for speaking up!
No apologizes necessary, Angie automatically knew what you were talking about, I was being thickheaded or mis-interrupting what I was reading. Well I am 4 1/2 years out, keeping my fingers crossed and slowing sneaking up on that 5 year magic marker. Hope and pray it stays behind me forever. Thank you so much for responding.