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Cancer

Possible Tests Ruling Out Cancer

06/05/2008

Question:

I am a 60-year old female who has, until this past year, been in great health. Since Sept., however, I have had a number of `conditions` (not all at the same time) These included: joint pain, spotting, appearance of moles, endometrial cells in PAP results, swollen lymph node in throat, mucus in throat, kidney infection, and back pain (on spot on spinal column when touched and mid-back ache). Now I have shingles. I have had an endometrial biopsy, a bladder exam, an inter-uterine ultrasound, an X-ray, mole biopsy, blood work and a bone scan. All results were normal. With the appearance of the shingles, however, I am worried that something may be wrong with my immune system and maybe I do have a form of cancer. Are the tests that I have had enough to rule out cancer? What other tests should be done? Thank you.

Answer:

I am happy to hear that all your testing has been normal thus far. I hope you are working with a good internal medicine doctor. While they are primary care doctors, they are “doctors for adults” and are used to putting together multiple issues and can certainly send you to sub-specialists as needed, such as gynecology. Since you are worried about the shingles, you could see an infectious disease specialist to ask your question about cancer risk with shingles. Your doctor can talk to you about which, if any, of your symptoms appear related.

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Response by:

Joanna M Brell, MD Joanna M Brell, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University