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 1. This is called follow-up care.
Your follow-up care includes medical tests, physical examination, or both 2. Doctors usually keep track of your recovery in the months and years ahead. MRI scans done at regular intervals and a history and physical examination in order to monitor if the tumor is stable or is trying to come back.
Cancer rehabilitation is usually recommended in most cases. This could mean any of a wide range of services, such as physical therapy, career counseling, pain management, nutritional planning, and emotional counseling.
Follow-up Care for Childhood Germ Cell Tumor
Follow-up care for childhood germ cell tumors refers to the after-treatment protocols conducted by the healthcare team to look after recurrence, manage the side effects, and monitor the overall health of the patient. The medical and physical examinations are also a part of the follow-up care of childhood germ cell tumors. Looking out for the recurrence of germ cell tumors seen in test reports is also a part of follow-up care. The long term side effects and symptoms of chemotherapy are under focus during the follow-up treatment. The methods of follow-up treatment are often associated with chemo sessions, other related therapies, and more. It is essential to have a follow-up care plan for patients with childhood germ cell tumors.
The doctor will suggest check-ups and tests to examine any late effects based on the germ cell tumor treatment symptoms of the patient. Managing the side effects while receiving treatment is a critical follow-up care approach. Having a personalized follow-up care plan is crucial for patients with germ cell tumors formulated by an expert medical care team. Moreover, an effective communication with the doctor regarding the long-term effects of all the treatments will be effective in the future.
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 3.
Scan-xiety refers to the stress of the family or the patient before the follow-up tests. Commonly, a recurrence is found when a person has new symptoms or an abnormal finding on physical examination.
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. Both late and long term, these side effects can be physical and emotional.
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, side effects, health insurance rules, personal preferences, beliefs and expectations 4.
- 1.Pierce JL, Frazier AL, Amatruda JF. Pediatric Germ Cell Tumors: A Developmental Perspective. Advances in Urology. Published online 2018:1-8. doi:10.1155/2018/9059382
- 2.Murray MJ, Halsall DJ, Hook CE, Williams DM, Nicholson JC, Coleman N. Identification of MicroRNAs From the miR-371∼373 and miR-302 Clusters as Potential Serum Biomarkers of Malignant Germ Cell Tumors. Am J Clin Pathol. Published online January 2011:119-125. doi:10.1309/ajcpoe11keyzcjht
- 3.Khaleghnejad-Tabari A, Mirshemirani A, Rouzrokh M, Mohajerzadeh L, Khaleghnejad-Tabari N, Hasas-Yeganeh S. Pediatric Germ Cell Tumors; A 10-year Experience. Iran J Pediatr. 2014;24(4):441-444. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25755868
- 4.Göbel U, von Kries R, Teske C, et al. Brain metastases during follow-up of children and adolescents with extracranial malignant germ cell tumors: Risk adapted management decision tree analysis based on data of the MAHO/MAKEI-registry. Pediatr Blood Cancer. Published online June 12, 2012:217-223. doi:10.1002/pbc.24229