Follow-Up Care for Mesothelioma

Cancer care did not end when people diagnosed with cancer completed their active treatment. The medical practitioner and your health care team will continue to access and check to see if cancer has returned; manage any side effects; and monitor overall health. This process in other words is follow up care. 

The follow-up care might consist of regular physical examinations, medical tests, or maybe both. Medical practitioners will want to monitor the patient’s recovery in the coming months to years. 

The main goal of follow-up care is to look for recurrence, which means cancer has returned. Cancer recurs because small areas of cancer cells in the body can go undetected. These cells may mature, multiply and spread over time until they appear on test results or cause signs or symptoms. A medical practitioner who is familiar with your medical history can provide you with personalised information about your risk of recurrence during the process of follow up care. The medical practitioner will ask you detailed health questions to help him understand the current scenario. Some people undergo blood tests or imaging tests as a part of routine follow up care. Still, testing recommendations are based on various factors; including the type of cancer, the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis, and the kind of treatment received.

Procedures during follow-up visits

During a follow-up visit, your medical practitioner and the health care team will generally ask questions about the potential side effects of treatment and how you’re coping with it. 

Your medical practitioner may conduct a physical exam, including:

  • Listening to the chest area
  • Feeling the abdomen area.

Tests are usually part of follow-up care. You may have:

A CT scan to observe how the therapies are helping to shrink or slow the growth of mesothelioma. It may also check if mesothelioma has returned after the treatment process.

The doctor can conduct a chest or an abdominal x-ray if a patient has any new symptoms or differences.

If cancer has returned, you and your medical practitioner and healthcare team will discuss your treatment plan. 

Managing long-term and late side effects

The majority of the people anticipate experiencing the side effects when undergoing treatment. However, it is very common for cancer survivors to know that some of the side effects may last even after completing the treatment. In other terms, long term side effects. Other side effects are late effects, which can appear months or even years after the treatment process is complete. Both physical and emotional changes can occur in the long term and late effects. Discuss your risk of developing such side effects with your medical practitioner based on the type of cancer; your individual and personal treatment plan; and your overall health. If you received a well-known treatment to cause specific side effects, you might be subjected to several physical examinations, scans, or blood tests to help find out and manage them. 

Keeping personal health records

You and your medical practitioner should collaborate to create a customised follow up a care plan. Talk to your medical health care team about any concerns about your physical and emotional health in the future. American Society of Clinical Oncology also provides forms to help you keep track of the cancer treatment and also develop a survivorship care program once the treatment is completed. This is also an excellent time to discuss with your medical practitioner, who will be in charge of your follow up care.

Some cancer survivors continue to consult their oncologist while some return to the care of their primary care physician or another health care professional. This decision is influenced by several factors, including the type of cancer, stage of cancer, side effects, health insurance policy, and personal preferences. Suppose your medical practitioner who was not directly involved in your cancer care will be in charge of the follow-up care. In that case, it is essential to share the summary of the cancer treatment and the survivorship care forms with them and the future health care providers. Details about your cancer treatment are extremely valuable to the medical professionals and the health care team who will care for you for the rest of your life.