Follow up for soft tissue sarcoma

You will have regular follow up appointments after treatment for a soft tissue sarcoma. 

Why you have follow up appointments

You usually 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.

​​​​​​​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.

What happens

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 
  • x-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans

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.

You are only likely to have MRI scans or CT scans if you have symptoms that need to be checked out. Research in this area has proved to specialists that most people don't need regular CT or MRI scans unless there is a suspicion that something could be wrong.

How often you have check ups

Depending on the type and grade of your soft tissue sarcoma, you may have a regular chest x-ray at your check ups. At first, your check ups will be every few months. But if all is well, they will gradually become less and less frequent. How often you see your doctor may also depend on your individual situation.

In general, you might have be followed up in the following way:

Intermediate or high grade sarcoma

Routine follow up is usually: 

  • 3 to 4 monthly appointments for the first 2 to 3 years
  • 6 monthly appointments up to 5 years
  • then yearly appointments

Low grade sarcoma

Routine follow up is usually:

  • 4 to 6 monthly appointments for the first 3 to 5 years
  • then yearly appointments

If you are worried

If you are worried or notice any new symptoms between appointments, let your doctor know as soon as possible. You don’t have to wait until the next appointment.

Many people find their check ups 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.