Follow-up care for eye 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 eye cancer. Watching the recurrence of eye tumor 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 eye cancer patients. The patient tends to think majorly about eye cancer symptoms and related to them. The doctor will propose checks and testing to check for late effects based on the patient’s eye 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 eye 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 Eye 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 1.
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 are best to monitor if the tumour is stable or is trying to come back.
People who had radiation therapy or have chosen active surveillance should be monitored sharply, around every three to six months. Patients who have had the eye removed surgically should receive an annual eye examination, and doctors should monitor the orbit sharply for the next two to three years.
All people treated for intraocular melanoma need to be monitored to see for any sign that cancer may have spread to other body parts. This process can include a physical examination, blood work, and imaging tests, such as a chest x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, or PET scan, every 6 to 12 months. The doctor can work with you to decide on an appropriate follow-up care plan 2.
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.
For eye cancer, a recurrence even after five years is possible. Between 6-12 months, it’s essential to check for recurrence or metastasis. Imaging tests recommended may include looking for cancer in the liver.
Scan-xiety is often used for the patient or the family’s stress 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 both physical and emotional.
Keeping personal health records
Along with your doctor, you should work together to 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.
- 1.Steeb T, Wessely A, et al. Patterns of care and follow-up care of patients with uveal melanoma in German-speaking countries: a multinational survey of the German Dermatologic Cooperative Oncology Group (DeCOG). J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. Published online November 21, 2020:1763-1771. doi:10.1007/s00432-020-03450-0
- 2.Cebeci Z, Tuncer S, Kebudi R. Clinical Features and Long-Term Follow-Up of Patients with Retinoblastoma in Turkish Children Older Than 5 Years of Age. Journal of Ophthalmology. Published online January 21, 2020:1-5. doi:10.1155/2020/8148013