Find out about follow up appointments and tests after treatment for vulval cancer.
Why you have follow up appointments
You have follow up appointments every few months to check how you are and see whether you have any problems or worries. The appointments also give you the chance 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.
Your doctor will want to monitor you closely to check there are no signs of the cancer coming 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.
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.
How long you have follow up
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.