You have regular check up appointments after treatment for mesothelioma. This is called follow up.
You usually have follow up appointments 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.
Tests may include:
- blood tests
- CT scans
You won't have all these tests every time you go to the hospital. But your doctor or nurse might examine you at each appointment. You might also have a routine x-ray. Your doctor or nurse will ask how you are feeling and whether you have any new symptoms. Your doctor might offer you a scan if there is a symptom that you or the doctor are worried about.
Usually you see the surgeon:
- after about 4 to 6 weeks, and then
- every 3 months if all is well
After chemotherapy or radiotherapy
You have check up appointments every 2 months or so at first. You might see your doctor or a specialist nurse.
If all is well, the time between your appointments gradually gets longer.
Where you go for your follow up
You usually go to the cancer clinic for follow up. However due to the coronavirus pandemic many hospital appointments may have changed. You might have a video or telephone appointment instead of a face-to-face appointment.
Your healthcare team will let you know about your follow up appointment and what to expect.
Tell your doctor or specialist nurse if you have any new symptoms or concerns. You don't have to wait until the next appointment. Your doctor or nurse would rather know if something is worrying you.
It can help to tell someone close to you how you’re feeling. Many people also find counselling helpful 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.