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Follow up for vulval cancer

Women discussing vulval cancer

This page tells you about follow up after treatment for vulval cancer. 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Follow up for vulval cancer

After your treatment has finished, your doctor will want you to have regular check ups. These will usually include a general check up on your health, and a vaginal examination by your doctor. You may have scans at some visits.  

At first your follow up appointments will be every few months. But if all is well, they will gradually become less and less frequent, until they are every 6 months or every year. Vulval cancer can sometimes come back after a long time, so it is likely you will be followed up for life. If you have any problems between visits, you can contact your doctor straight away - you don't have to wait for your next appointment.

Many people find their check ups can bring back all the worry about their cancer. You may find it helpful to tell someone close to you how you are feeling. It is quite common nowadays for people to have counselling after cancer treatment.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Treating vulval cancer section.

 

After your treatment has finished, your doctor will want you to have regular check ups. You will have a general check up of your health and you will have a vaginal examination by your doctor. Your doctor may organise for you to have a scan but you do not have these routinely at every appointment. 

Your doctor will want to monitor you closely to check there are no signs that the cancer has come back. Or if it does come back, to spot it before you have any symptoms. Your doctor may also suggest that you examine yourself routinely. This is called self examination. 

Read more about self examination of the vulva.

If you have any problems or concerns between these visits, it is important to tell your doctor right away. You don’t have to wait until the next appointment. At first your follow up appointments will be every few months. But if all is well, they will gradually become less and less frequent.

If you have had surgery you will be seen about six weeks and then 3 months after your operation.  You are likely to see your specialist every 3 months for the first year and then 6 monthly for the second year. After 2 years have gone by, if all is well, you may only see your specialist once a year. Vulval cancer can sometimes come back (recur) after a long time, so it is highly likely you will be followed up for life.

Many people find their check ups quite worrying. If you are feeling well and getting on with life, a hospital appointment can bring all the worry about your cancer back to you. You may find it helpful to tell someone close to you how you are feeling. If you are able to share your worries, they may not seem quite so bad. It is quite common nowadays for people to have counselling after cancer treatment.

Read more about counselling.

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Updated: 24 February 2016