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 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 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
How often you see your doctor after treatment depends on your situation and what treatment you have had.
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.
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