Find out about follow up appointments and tests after treatment for stomach cancer.
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.
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
Your first checkup is usually 2 to 4 weeks after leaving hospital. Then, your checkups will be every few months. They will gradually become less frequent. The checkups are often every 3 months for 2 years and then every 6 months 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.