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. 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.
Various long-term side effects or late effects from treatments for HCL and PLL may occur-
- Infertility or premature menopause from high-dose cyclophosphamide (Neosar) or other chemotherapy
- A weakened heart muscle from higher doses of doxorubicin (Adriamycin) or radiotherapy to the chest
- Lung damage from particular drugs or radiation therapy to the lungs
- Secondary leukaemia or another type of cancer develops because of the first cancer treatment. They are more common after treatment with chemotherapy. Specifically, people treated for CLL are at a higher risk for developing skin cancer and should protect their skin from the sun. They also have a higher risk of lung cancer, and smoking is strongly discouraged.
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.