Follow-up care for lacrimal gland 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 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. A survivorship care plan is designed with the physician as per the health condition and requirements. The doctor may also recommend rehabilitation. Rehabilitation includes various services such as therapies (physical and mental), pain management, career counseling, emotional counseling, and diet and nutrition planning. Rehabilitative therapies and sessions help cope with, treat, and relieve these symptoms or side effects post successful cancer treatment. In some cases, rehab services will include physical therapies to help people in movement and other physical activities.
Proper care and guidance should be provided for patients to cope with mental stress, anxiety, and depression post-treatment of lacrimal gland tumors. The primary goal of follow-up care post successful treatment is to check for any possible recurrence. Another important aspect of follow-up care is managing and relieving the side effects of treatment.
Follow-Up Care for Lacrimal Gland Tumors
Care for people diagnosed with lacrimal gland tumors does not end with active treatment. The health care team will develop a post-treatment care strategy as per the condition of the patient, called follow-up care. Every disease survivor should have a proper follow-up care routine. Follow-up care refers to seeing the health care provider post-treatment for regular medical check-ups and screening to evaluate your post-treatment health progress and disease condition 1.
The follow-up care will include routine physical examinations, various medical tests (blood tests, urine tests), and scans, to monitor the overall health status of the patient. These tests and scan results will help the doctor analyze and detect any variation in the well-being. It will also help analyze any other complications, symptoms, or signs indicating any disease or side effects due to the treatment. Follow-up care does not just focus on addressing physical health issues but also prioritizes their mental well-being. Lacrimal gland tumor survivors should utilize the opportunity to address any emotional or mental concerns to their doctor or health care team.
Survivorship care plan
You can design a survivorship care plan along with your physician. A survivorship care plan will consist of a full, detailed summary of your treatment, along with a follow-up plan designed as per your health condition and requirements. This plan will function as a tracker to monitor your condition post-treatment. It will ensure that you get regular, competent care. This will prevent any chance of the disease condition recurring or any side effects of treatment becoming worse. Follow-up care should not be missed, especially in the disorders like a lacrimal gland tumor. The behavior of the tumors is unpredictable and there is a possibility of recurrence post-successful treatment. Doctors can check for recurrence or distant metastasis through these follow-up check-ups and help treat them.
In follow-up care, the doctor may recommend rehabilitation. Rehabilitation includes various services such as therapies (physical and mental), pain management, career counseling, emotional counseling, diet, and nutrition planning. The ultimate goal of rehab is to aid survivors to regain control over their lives and encourage them to be self-sufficient, active, and productive as much as possible. Rehabilitative therapies and sessions help cope with, treat, and also relieve symptoms or side effects post successful cancer treatment. Follow-up care and rehabilitation collectively focus on improving the quality and comfort of the life of cancer survivors. A rehabilitation medicine specialist can ensure that the patient gets the most appropriate and effective rehab services. Rehab services focus on providing sufficient mental support and encouragement to the survivor.
Proper care and guidance should be provided for patients to cope with mental stress, anxiety, and depression post-treatment of lacrimal gland tumors (or any disease in general). Today, most cancer care centres have support groups and services that offer survivors the support they require. These support services will have various therapies, counselling and other sessions to address the emotional concerns of the survivors.
The primary goal of follow-up care post successful treatment is to check for any possible recurrence 2. In the case of lacrimal gland tumors, it is essential to have frequent medical check-ups, even after successful treatment and cure. A doctor who is familiar with your medical history will be able to guide you with personalized information regarding your risk of disease recurrence during follow-up check-ups. The doctor may ask you different questions to evaluate your health condition. Depending on your disease condition’s type, stage, and gravity during the initial diagnosis and treatment, the doctor may prescribe various medical tests (blood/urine/imaging tests) and scans.
Survivors might be anxious while coming for follow-up check-ups and waiting for the test results. They will be constantly worried about cancer recurring again in the body. In such cases, survivors are encouraged to openly communicate their fears with their doctor, who will help them get the necessary support.
Managing and relieving the side effects
Another important aspect of follow-up care is managing and relieving the side effects of treatment. People may experience many long-term and short-term side effects while receiving treatment for cancer. The late side effects or long-term side effects tend to last for a more extended period (even months or years) post-treatment. These side effects can affect the physical and mental well-being of a survivor.
Patients should talk with their doctor or health care team regarding the treatment. The treatment and side effects before the treatment begins. If any side effects are expected to cause trouble, proper treatment and care should be provided to manage and relieve them.
People who have received treatment for lacrimal gland tumors are urged to make healthy life choices. They are encouraged to follow established guidelines like eating a healthy balanced diet, maintaining healthy body weight, undergoing screening tests. Putting an end to all unhealthy practices like drinking, smoking as well . They are also encouraged to perform physical activities without straining their bodies. Talk with your doctor or healthcare team, and design a plan to keep up a healthy lifestyle.
Lacrimal gland tumor survivors and the doctor should work together to design a personalized follow-up check-up and care plan. Survivors should also make it a point to address or discuss any fears or concerns regarding their mental and physical health with their health care provider. Also, survivors should record all their treatments and medical history for future reference.
Shaping a Follow-up Care Plan
Survivors can also enquire about who will lead their follow-up care to their doctor. Some people continue to see their oncologists or health care team, whereas others transition back to the supervision of another medical professional or their family doctor. Several factors like the type, grade, gravity of the disease condition, possible side effects, personal preferences etc., shape such decisions.
If, in case, a medical professional who was not a part of your treatment lead your follow up care, be sure to share all relevant medical history and survivorship plan with them. This applies in the case of all future health care providers. This is very important, as it will help the new doctor plan your care based on your past medical details.
- 1.Esmaeli B, Yin VT, Hanna EY, et al. Eye-sparing multidisciplinary approach for the management of lacrimal gland carcinoma. Head Neck. Published online March 29, 2016:1258-1262. doi:10.1002/hed.24433
- 2.Tafti BA, Shaba W, Li Y, Yevdayev E, Berenji GR. Staging and Follow-up of Lacrimal Gland Carcinomas by 18F-FDG PET/CT Imaging. Clinical Nuclear Medicine. Published online October 2012:e249-e252. doi:10.1097/rlu.0b013e31825ae11b