Follow-up Care for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Executive Summary

Follow-up care for acute lymphocytic leukemia refers to the after-treatment protocols conducted by the healthcare team to look after recurrence, manage the side effects, and monitor the patients’ overall health. The follow-up care will include routine physical examinations, various medical tests (blood tests, urine tests) and scans to monitor a patient’s overall health status. Cancer rehabilitation is usually recommended, and this could mean any of a wide range of services, such as physical therapy, career counselling, pain management, nutritional planning, and emotional counselling. Follow-up tests are conducted to check any chance of recurrence. Most people encounter different side effects while receiving treatment. However, in some patients, side effects linger beyond the treatment duration. These are the long term side effects. Keeping a personal health record helps the doctor determine the patient’s exact case history during the follow-up care.

Follow-up Care for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Care for a cancer patient does not end with the end of active treatment that was going on. Even after that, the health care team looks after the cancer recurrence, managing the side effects developed due to the treatment and monitoring your overall health. This is called follow up care.

Your follow-up care includes medical tests, physical examination or both. 

Doctors usually keep track of your recovery in the months and years ahead. 

Cancer rehabilitation is usually recommended, and this could mean any of a wide range of services, such as physical therapy, career counselling, pain management, nutritional planning, and emotional counselling. 

Watching for recurrence

One of the things to take care of after cancer treatment is recurrence. Cancer recurrence happens when a few cancerous cells remain even after treatment; they again grow until they show up any signs or symptoms or are seen in test reports. 

Scan-xiety is often used for the patient or the family’s stress before the follow-up tests.

Managing long-term and late side effects

Most people encounter different side effects while receiving treatment ​1​. But in some patients, side effects linger beyond the treatment duration. These are the long term side effects. 

Late side effects can develop after months or even after years of treatment. 

Keeping personal health records

Along with your doctor, you should develop a personalized follow-up care plan. Some patients, after the treatment, continue to see their oncologist, while others go back to the care of their family/primary care doctor. This usually depends on various factors, including the type and stage of cancer, side effects, health insurance rules, personal preferences, beliefs and expectations ​2​.

References

  1. 1.
    Arigela R, Gundeti S, Ganta R, Nasaka S, Linga V, Maddali L. Trends in management of acute lymphoblastic leukemia: Influence of insurance based healthcare and treatment compliance on the outcome of adolescents and adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology. Published online January 2016:32-37. doi:10.4103/0971-5851.177013
  2. 2.
    Zhang MJ. Long-Term Follow-up of Adults with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in First Remission Treated with Chemotherapy or Bone Marrow Transplantation. Ann Intern Med. Published online September 15, 1995:428. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-123-6-199509150-00006