Find out about follow up appointments and tests after treatment for Oesophageal cancer.
Why you have follow up appointments
You’ll have follow up appointments to check your recovery and sort out any problems. They‘re also your opportunity to raise any concerns you have about your progress.
Your doctor or nurse will examine you at each appointment. They’ll ask how you’re feeling, whether you’ve had any symptoms or side effects and if you’re worried about anything.
You might also have tests at some visits.Tests may include:
- blood tests
- CT scan
- ultrasound scans
You may also see physiotherapists and dietitians during these appointments. Seeing the dietitian as soon as you have a problem can help you sort it out before it becomes a big issue.
You can arrange to see a physiotherapist or dietitian through your doctor or nurse at the outpatient clinic.
How often you have checkups
Your first check up is usually 2 to 4 weeks after leaving hospital. Then, your check ups will be every few months. They will gradually become less and less frequent. The check ups are often 3 monthly for 2 years and then 6 monthly for the next 3 years.
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 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.
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 checkups. 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:
- 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. An advantage of this system is that you can organise appointments to suit your own health needs.
This means that clinics aren’t full of people who don’t necessarily need to see their doctor. And this allows the hospital to keep waiting times short. So, if you need an appointment, you can get one quickly.
You can also get support from community nurses and dietitians too