After Treatment

I've had treatment for cancer in the tongue, tonsils and lympth nodes. My treatment ended 3 weeks ago I spent a week after treatment in hospital because I lost loads of weight. I had 2 chemo sessions and 30 radiotherapy sessions.

When will I know if it's worked and I take it they will need to do another scan.

Lee  T4, N2, M0 left oropharyngeal SCC(grade 3,p16 positive) 

  • Hi Lee. Well done for getting through the treatment.

    Post treatment scans are usually done from 12 weeks onwards. Mine was done at 16. The sooner they are done the more likely are artefacts from the radiation to show as false positive hot spots. Most trusts do whole body PET/CT some MRI just of the head and neck. You usually get results two weeks or so later

    We are generally monitored pretty closely for the first two years. When you get to that milestone cancer free your chances are pretty good. They discharge you "cured" at five years

    Ask when the scan is scheduled at your next appointment 

    Hope that helps and hope your recovery is going OK


    Base of tongue cancer. Out of radiotherapy January 2019

    Blog about my cancer. 

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm
  • Hi Lee well done in completing treatment and welcome to,recovery . As Dani has said the longer you wait for pet Ct scan the less chance you have of hot spots. Mine was done 18:weeks after treatment had finished with results  10:days later after they had been defied at mdt meeting. 
    How are you know Sorry to hear you ended up in hospital..


    Hazel aka RadioactiveRaz 

    My blog is Where I give my account of h p v 16+ tonsil cancer Now 3.5 years post treatment. 35 radiotherapy 2 chemo T2N2NM.Happily getting on with living

  • Good evening Lee, i never got any scans after my operations, maybe because mine was in the neck area where they say they can tell by feeling around the neck and shoulder for any lumps plus an examination inside the mouth. The only time i got a scan was when they were concerned that it had returned, which for me it did. Im pleased the other guys did have scans done after, maybe because of surgery they don't do scans as much although i think they should be done after 6 months maximum. Hopefully, you are now back to a better weight and you are making steady progress with your recovery. Wishing you all the best,take care.


    Its sometimes not easy but its worth it ! 

  • Hi Lee,

    To answer your question I would think they will have a fairly good idea how things are looking at your next follow-up appointment.  They should be looking at you every 2 months in the first year.  After that there will be less frequent appointments unless they are concerned about you.

    I only had surgery and waited 6 months for my check PET/CT after each set of treatment.  The only thing that showed for me on the scan the first time around was an infected tooth.  Then a visual inspection  about 5 months later raised suspicions of a tumour - which it was.  The scan after the second round of treatment was again clear.

    Scans are useful, but only supplement the expertise of your clinical teams during your regular follow-up appointments.  Nothing can be guaranteed, but a reoccurrence or failure of the first treatment is extremely unlikely with this cancer.  Trust in your team and try to live life to the max.  That said never be afraid to raise an issue with your team is something feels amiss.  You don't have to wait until your next scheduled appointment if you are concerned.