Today was my regular three-month visit with my oncologist. My CA 15-3 tumour marker has gone down to 29! That's *half* of what it was when I first found out I had mets, and is definitely within normal range. This is fantastic news!!! It means that the cancer is staying put (maybe even having a bit of a sleep) instead of running around looking for new places to hang out.
I'll be having an abdominal CT scan in the next two weeks just to confirm that there's nothing going on in my liver. We'll also scan my pelvis at the same time because the last time I had a CT scan, there were two teensy-tiny sclerotic lesions in my left hemi-pelvis. That's the side of my hip and back that hurts... so it's possible that the pain isn't just from my back. I'm pretty sure that we're not going to find anything important in the scan but it's important to do them. I think my oncologist might switch me to CT scans every six months instead of once a year, which I'd like.
Speaking of pain, we talked about my lower back and hip as well. She said that I have a *very* bad back, especially for someone of my age... and that there's nothing much that can be done for it. There's degeneration around two discs just above my sacrum. I don't see how this is going to get better
My theory about the pain is this: much of the pain from there is caused by bone against bone; plus I think that there's a nerve being pinched sometimes - not the sciatic nerve, but one of the ones in that bundle of nerves - that's causing pain in my left leg and hip, and in my effort to not be in pain there, I may or may not have given myself bursitis in that hip.
I talked to my oncologist about tis theory and she agrees that this might make sense. She also said that she wouldn't have the first clue how to treat any of this - which isn't a surprise, since she's an oncologist :) This is definitely something that I'll be wanting to talk to my family doctor about.
We also talked about a PET scan. She said that if I really, really wanted one that I could go ahead and do it. But she also said that the PET scan is sort of like a bone scan in that it shows areas of increased tracer takeup, but those areas are fuzzy and aren't necessarily diagnostic. As well, the scan doesn't show things under 1cm and she won't be able to treat anything that shows up unless it also showed up and was measurable on a CT (or MRI) scan.
She did say that some people will do a PET scan if they want to surgically remove (resect) cancer from an organ like the liver and they want to be sure that there's no cancer anywhere else.
I guess if she did PET scans all the time she might feel differently - many people in the US have PET/CT scans instead of just bone scans, CTs or MRIs - but this is the way things are here.
So based on all of that, plus the fact that my tumour markers are so low, and because I'm having a CT scan within two weeks, I'm not going to do a PET scan right now. I'm ok with this because I get other scans and I don't feel like I'm not being scanned or that the cancer won't be caught early enough. I'll keep the PET in the back of my mind, though, in case anything changes.