Find out about follow up appointments and tests after treatment for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).
Why you have follow up appointments
You have follow up appointments to check how you are and whether you have any problems or worries. They also give you the opportunity to raise any concerns you have about your progress.
When you need check ups
you'll have regular check ups if you're having biological therapy or chemotherapy that aims to control the CML. Your doctor or specialist nurse will monitor how well your treatment is working and check for any side effects. If your treatment stops working, your doctor or nurse will pick this up very quickly and there's likely to be other treatments you can try.
After high dose chemotherapy with a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant you'll have regular check ups at first. The appointments may get less frequent after a year or so, but they'll continue for several years.
When you first start treatment, you may see your specialist every week, or fortnight. All going well, you'll see your doctor monthly. This varies according to your particular needs. For more advanced CML, or if your treatment changes, you'll need to see your doctor more often.
Generally if you're having treatment with imatinib (Glivec), nilotinib (Tasigna) or chemotherapy, your doctor will see you each month. This is to check your blood counts regularly to see how well your bone marrow is working.
Your doctor or nurse examines you at each appointment. They ask how you are feeling, whether you have had any symptoms or side effects and if you are worried about anything.
You might also have tests at some visits.
Tests may include:
- blood tests
- bone marrow
You might go for check ups at the surgical outpatients after surgery. You go to the cancer clinic if you have had chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The surgeon and the oncologist might share your follow up. This means you see the surgeon sometimes and the oncologist at other times.
Contact your doctor or specialist nurse if you have any concerns. You should also contact them if you notice any new symptoms between appointments. You don’t have to wait until your next visit.
If you are worried
Many people find their check ups quite worrying. A hospital appointment can bring back any anxiety you had about your cancer.
It can help to tell someone close to you how you’re feeling. Sharing your worries can mean they don’t seem so overwhelming. Many people find it helpful to have counselling after cancer treatment.