WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TREATMENT?
Completing treatment can be both stressful and exciting, yet it is difficult not to worry about recurrence (when cancer returns). This is a very common concern among those who have had cancer. It may take a while before you are confident in your own recovery.
Follow-up care: After treatment is over, it is very important to keep follow-up appointments. During these visits doctors will ask about symptoms, do physical exams, and other blood test or imaging studies such as CT Scans or X-rays. It is important to be screened to check for cancer recurrence or spread. Regular examinations are important for every woman. These examinations are no less important for a woman who has been treated for precancerous changes or for cancer of the cervix.
Follow-up care should include a full pelvic examination, and other tests as indicated on a regular schedule recommended by the gynecologist. These precautions are necessary to allow early detection should the cancer return. Cancer treatment may cause side effects many years later. For this reason, a woman should continue to have regular checkups and should report any health problems that appear.
Follow up care after treatment
A new doctor: At some point after cancer diagnosis and treatment, the initial doctor may have moved or retired. It is important to give the new doctor the exact details of diagnosis and treatment with the following information (handy document).
- A copy of your pathology report from any biopsies or surgeries.
- If you had surgery, a copy of your operative report.
- If you were hospitalized, a copy of the discharge summary that every doctor must prepare when patients are sent home from the hospital.
- If you had Chemotherapy, a prescription of your drug does and when you your took the drugs.
- Copies of X-rays and other imaging studies (it can be put in a DVD).
- If you had a radiation therapy, a copy of the treatment.
Make healthier choice: Cancer diagnosis can make you focus on your health more. There are decisions you might consider, which include cutting down alcohol intake and tobacco. What better time than now to take advantage of the motivation you have as a result of going through a life changing experience like having cancer? You can ask your health care team any question that will help you make healthier choices.
Rest, fatigue, work and exercise: Fatigue is very common symptom in people being treated for cancer. This is often not an ordinary type of tiredness but a “bone-weary” exhaustion that does not get better with rest. For some, this fatigue lasts a long time after treatment, and can discourage patients from physical activity.
However, exercise can help you reduce fatigue. Studies have shown that patients who follow an exercise program tailored to their personal needs feel physically and emotionally improved.
Physical therapy can help you maintain strength and range of motion in your muscles, which can help fight fatigue and the sense of depression that sometimes comes with feeling so tired. Any physical activity program should fit your own situation. An older person who has never exercised will not be able to take on the same amount of exercise as a 20years old who plays tennis 3 times a week. If you have not exercised in a few years, you may take short walks. Talk with your health care team before starting, and get their opinion about your exercise plans. Having family or friends involved when starting a new exercise program can give you that extra boost of support to keep you going.
Exercise can improve physical and emotional health.
- It improves the cardiovascular system.
- It strengthens the muscles
- It reduces fatigue
- It lowers anxiety and depression
- It makes you feel generally happier
- It helps you feel better