You and Your Primary Care Provider
Cancer care does not end with active treatment. After cancer treatment has finished, your doctor will continue to monitor your recovery, manage any lingering side effects, and check to make sure the cancer has not returned. Your follow-up care plan may include regular physical examinations and/or medical tests during the coming months and years.
Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about your future health. He or she can give you information and tools to help you immediately after cancer treatment has ended and for the long term. This is also a good time to determine who will lead your ongoing medical care. Some survivors continue to see their oncologist, while others see their family doctor or another health care professional. This decision depends on several factors, including the type and stage of the cancer, treatment side effects, health insurance rules, and your personal preferences.
Participating in follow-up care and keeping a medical support system in place are essential for maintaining both your physical and emotional health. It also helps many survivors feel in control as they transition back into their everyday lives. If you have any hesitations about following the recommended follow-up care plan, talk with your doctor or another health care professional. You have been through a lot, and follow-up care can help you stay healthy into the future.
Your Primary Care Physician can also help you manage long term side effects from your cancer treatment. Most people expect to experience side effects during treatment. However, it is often surprising to survivors that some side effects may linger after treatment or that other side effects may develop months or even years later. Other health conditions you may have, such as diabetes or heart disease, can also be made worse by cancer treatment. These long-term effects are specific to certain types of treatment and usually develop within a defined time. Your doctor will be able to tell you if you are at risk for developing any late effects based on the type of cancer you had, your individual treatment plan, and your overall health.
Information from American Society of Clinical Oncology.