Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The primary?

H has been looking at her scans.  She now thinks the primary is the abdominal tumour discovered by her biopsy scan, and that it's been the cause of the neuropathic pain she's had for years.  If this is right, the primary could have been discovered by the right scan five years ago (the MRI scan she had then was of her spine).  If it had been found, it would have been removed surgically, and there would have been a significant chance of cure.  It's distressing for H to think that she might be well now if she'd been more cautious about her own health.

Is this right?  H thinks so, and she's an expert.  On the other hand none of the experts who examined her five years ago, including herself, thought there was anything serious (her GP thought there might be a lipoma but was easily talked out of the idea).  And the sarcoma specialist treating her hasn't pointed to the abdominal tumour as a likely primary.

H has always been mildly contemptuous of the overuse of scans, thinking them a poor substitute for medical thought.  In this case, a precautionary scan might have been life-saving.  But this case is fantastically rare.

If the abdominal tumour is the primary, it may have been caused by an IVU (Intravenous Urogram) H had when she was 7 or 8, to look for an underlying cause for a urinary infection.  If so, that's an argument for doing fewer scans, on young people at least.

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