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Should I get a CT?


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I know that nobody will be able to give me a definite answer on this but i'd still like some opinions. I am a 30-year-old female. My mother passed away at age 67 from pancreatic cancer last week. Cancer runs like wildfire in our family, with every member of my mom's family passing from some form of cancer. We all have the BRCA mutation.

A few months ago, I had some stomach pain under my ribs for a few days. I went to the gastro who sent me to do some blood tests. The CA-19 came back as 39.7 (the normal range is between 0-37). I freaked out and I was convinced I had pancreatic cancer. I scheduled a CT. Before doing the CT I had the marker checked again and it went down to 34. I had it checked again once more and it went down to 24. My stomach pain went away and I didn't think about it again. About two months later the stomach pain came back, again I had some shooting pain under my ribs. Again, I freaked out that I had pancreatic cancer and scheduled a CT. Now i'm due to get the CT but once again, my stomach pain has subsided in the last month. However, over the last month I have been having diahrea everyday. I know that a lot of this is probably psychological, as I was watching my mom suffer from stomach pain every day for the last 8 months. I'm just not sure if I should go ahead and get the CT. I'm almost certain that it's nothing to be worried about. But after reading on this forum a bit, it seems like a lot of people didn't have such severe symptoms when they were diagnosed and felt pretty healthy. I also know somebody else who just passed away from pancreatic cancer at age 27. Given my family history and this fact, it sure makes me worry.

My reasons for not wanting to do a CT- 1. Radiation exposure 2. The fact that I can't think I have cancer every time I'm having a symptom and run to do a scan.

Would appreciate your thoughts!

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Hi rufusthedog,

Sorry to hear about your mum. My mum (age 67) is coming to the end of her life now with pancreatic cancer and she has told me (age 32) to ask for regular CT scans each year even if I have no symptoms. I know that is a bit extreme, but my opinion is you should go for your one to put your mind at rest.

I hope you feel better soon x

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Definitely get a CT scan if you have the chance. I had to "fight" 4 months to convince my GP to give me an appointment for a scan. It finally confirmed that I had a tumour. Before I was misdiagnosed for 1.5 years. I even had a scan in June 2018, but in another country and 4 doctors who looked at the scan were not able to see the tumour or didn't recognize it is cancer. I brought a copy of that scan to UK and showed it to my oncologist. He compared it with a scan I had in February 2019 and confirmed that the tumour was already there in 2018. Since February I had 3 more CT scans, the last one yesterday to check the results of the chemotherapy. I think scans are the best and most reliable method to actually see a tumour. Scans are not bad and not dangerous, the radiation is really very low these days. I had 4 scans in 5 months, so 1 scan per year should be fine.

I would not trust the markers. I never asked for mine to be checked. During my chemotherapy I meet people who make themselves crazy by constantly asking for their markers and comparing numbers. For me the only thing that counts is the size of my tumour, if it continues growing or started shrinking. Only a CT scan can provide this information.

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