Follow-up Care for Esophageal Cancer

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Executive Summary

Follow-up care for esophageal cancer 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. Both medical and physical examinations are included in the follow-up care of esophageal cancer. Watching the recurrence of ependymoma is seen in test reports of follow-up care. The symptoms due to the long term effects of radiation therapy are treated. The methods of follow-up treatment are often associated with chemo sessions, radiation therapies, and more. It is essential to have a follow-up care plan for esophageal cancer patients. The patient tends to think majorly about esophageal cancer symptoms and related to them. The doctor will propose checks and testing to check for late effects based on the patient’s esophageal cancer treatment symptoms . Managing the side effects while receiving treatment is a critical follow-up care approach.

Personalizing the follow-up care plan is essential for patients with esophageal cancer conducted by the medical care team. Effective communication with the doctor regarding the long term effects of all the treatments will be effective in the future.

Follow-up Care for Esophageal Cancer

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 in esophageal cancer

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

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.

Tests may include:

  • blood tests
  • x-rays
  • CT scan
  • ultrasound scans
  • endoscopy

You may also see physiotherapists and dietitians during these appointments. Seeing the dietitian as soon as you have a problem can help you sort it out before it becomes a big issue.

You can arrange to see a physiotherapist or dietitian through your doctor or nurse at the outpatient clinic.

How often you have checkups

How often you see your doctor after treatment depends on your situation and what treatment you have had.

Your first check up is usually 2 to 4 weeks after leaving hospital. Then, your check ups will be every few months. They will gradually become less and less frequent. The check ups are often 3 monthly for 2 years and then 6 monthly for the next 3 years.

Between appointments

Contact your doctor or specialist nurse if you have any concerns between appointments. You should also contact them if you notice any new symptoms. You don’t have to wait until your next visit.

Patient led follow up

Some hospitals are trying out a new way of running their check ups. This system leaves it to you to take the lead in arranging to see your doctor or specialist nurse.

When you first finish treatment, your hospital arranges your appointments. But once your doctors are happy with your progress you can arrange them yourself. You can do this as often as you feel you need to.

You might want to make an appointment if you:

  • have noticed a change in your body that worries you
  • feel it is time you had a check up, even though you don’t have any particular worries

In some situations, your specialist will ask you to book in for a particular test every so often.

This system means you can organise appointments to suit your own health needs. It also means that clinics aren’t full of people who might not need to see their doctor. This helps the hospital to keep waiting times short, so you can get an appointment quickly when you need one.

You can also get support from community nurses and dietitians too