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need for spinal tap and bone scan
Mar 25, 2001

Dear Doc, Iam just finishing my third CHOP treatment for NH-Lymphoma. To start with a gallium scan showed a node at the back of my jaw (one under my arm was removed during the biopsy) My oncologist never did a bone marrow scan because she said she would treat the cancer the same even if it was in the bone marrow and she didn't do a spinal tap because she had serious questions about the efficacy of infusing drugs into the spinal tap. Is all of this a safe assumption? If not, is it possible to have any of these test in the middle of treatment or would they not show accurate results? I want to do everything I can to get past this damned disease! I think she seemed to feel pretty secure that the cancer wasn't too widespread as I didn't have any other symptoms. Thanks for your help.

Response from Dr. Dezube

I will refrain from answering about your specific case, because maybe I don't have all the details I need. I will tell you that all my patients with very few exceptions undergo a spinal tap and a bone marrow biopsy (this is a bit different from a bone scan. A bone scan is a special x-ray, whereas a bone marrow biopsy consists of removing a sample of your bone marrow). These tests are important to perform since it can alter treatment (e.g. the number of cycles and so on). These tests can NOT be done in the middle of the treatment. Again, I can't comment on your case. I would be happy to discuss this with your oncologist, if she would like to call me. I'm listed with the standard oncology services (e.g. the oncology service called ASCO- your oncologist will be familar with this). As your cancer "wasn't too widespread", you should do okay in all likelihood. Good luck. BD.


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