Follow-Up Care: What to Expect After Treatment
After you complete your cancer treatment, your care team works with you to develop an ongoing care plan. Regular follow-up care, also known as surveillance, is important to:
- Monitor your overall health
- Manage any remaining side effects
- Check for possible signs of the cancer coming back (recurring)
Coordination of care with your primary care doctor
We work closely with your primary care doctor throughout your treatment, providing updates on a regular basis. We continue this partnership after you finish treatment, to coordinate your ongoing care for cancer and any other health concerns.
Your team for follow-up care
If your treatment plan calls for additional treatment for cancer after surgery, a different oncologist (cancer doctor) may manage your follow-up care from then on. You may see your surgical care team only if you have complications after surgery.
- For radiation therapy, you will see a radiation oncologist.
- For systemic therapy (medications that travel through the bloodstream to treat cancer), your medical oncologist will manage your care.
Timeframe for follow-up visits
Your recommended schedule for return appointments will depend on your individual circumstances. Factors include the type of cancer you were diagnosed with, its stage and the treatments you received. A typical schedule for follow-up care may include:
- Initial postoperative visit with your cancer surgeon 1 week to 10 days after surgery
- Follow-up appointments with the medical oncology care team at certain intervals:
- 1 to 3 months
- 6 months
- 1 year
What to expect at your follow-up appointments
During follow-up visits, your care team performs a checkup and discusses a variety of health issues with you. You will have time to ask questions and share any concerns. Among the issues and steps we cover are:
- Checking for any recurrence (cancer that has returned), metastasis (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body), or new cancer
- Discussing lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of recurrence and metastasis
- Managing any side effects resulting from cancer treatment
- Providing emotional support
Recommended tests for follow-up cancer care
Follow-up visits with your Stanford care team may include certain tests, getting your medical history and doing a physical examination.
Current as of: 10/2019