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 might include:
- blood tests
- ultrasound scan
- CT scan
- MRI scan
How often you have check ups
Your first follow up appointment will be within 6 weeks of completing treatment. Your check ups will continue for some years after your treatment. Follow up appointments range between every 3 to 4 months to once a year. The time in between appointments increases the longer it has been since your treatment. It can vary from hospital to hospital.
Some hospitals see patients less often if the outcome of their treatment is likely to be good. Some are also arranging for specialist nurses to follow up patients with phone calls, to save them having to come to the hospital unnecessarily.
How you might feel
Some 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.
Contact your doctor or specialist nurse if you have any concerns between appointments. You should also contact them if you notice any new symptoms. You don’t have to wait until your next visit.