Find out about follow up appointments and tests after treatment for lung cancer.
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.
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
- a CT scan
- an ultrasound scan
You might also see physiotherapists and dietitians during these appointments. Seeing the dietitian as soon as you have any eating problem can help you sort it out before it becomes a big issue.
Your doctor or nurse at the outpatient clinic can arrange for you to see a physiotherapist or dietitian.
How often you have check ups
After treatment such as surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, you are likely to have an appointment between 2 and 6 weeks after the treatment has finished.
After that you may have appointments at regular intervals.
Ongoing follow up might be:
- 3 monthly for the 1st year
- 4 monthly for the 2nd year
- 6 monthly for the 3rd and 4th year
- yearly after 4 years
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.
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.
Patient led follow up
Some hospitals are trying out a new way of running their check ups. This system leaves it to you to take the lead in arranging to see your doctor or specialist nurse.
When you first finish treatment, your hospital arranges your appointments. But once your doctors are happy with your progress you can arrange them yourself. You can do this as often as you feel you need to.
You might want to make an appointment if you:
- have noticed a change in your body that worries you
- feel it is time you had a check up, even though you don't have any particular worries
In some situations, your specialist will ask you to book in for a particular test every so often.
This system means you can organise appointments to suit your own health needs. It also means that clinics aren’t full of people who might not need to see their doctor. This helps the hospital to keep waiting times short, so you can get an appointment quickly when you need one.
You can also get support from community nurses and dietitians too.