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5 Reasons Why You Should Not Miss Your Follow-up Appointments after Cancer

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5 Reasons Why You Should Not Miss Your Follow-up Appointments after Cancer

   August 20, 2022

   HCG Nasik Team,


Cancer is a complex and life-threatening condition. Nevertheless, there are multiple treatment options available for cancer, and patients can go on to lead a normal life after the treatment. Although well tolerable, these treatments can cause some side effects. Cancer also has the potential to recur after complete treatment and will therefore need regular monitoring. For these reasons, post-treatment follow-ups become important. During the patient’s discharge, the doctor provides a scheduled follow-up visit plan to the patient for health monitoring. It includes monitoring long-term and late side effects and cancer recurrence. Cancer survivors need to adhere strictly to the follow-up visit schedule.

Reasons for a Missed Follow-up Appointment After Cancer Treatment

There are several reasons for missing follow-up appointments after cancer treatment. Some of them are:

  • Financial Issues: In India, most patients undergo treatment through out-of-the-pocket expenses. Cancer treatment not only drains the patients physically and emotionally but is also financially draining. Thus, many cancer survivors may not continue their follow-up treatment due to financial constraints.
  • Feeling of Complete Treatment: Many cancer survivors do not follow the doctor’s instructions for follow-up visits due to the feeling that they are completely cured of cancer. They, thus, do not regularly visit the doctor for follow-up check-ups.
  • Travel Burden: Cancer patients are in all the areas in India, whether in rural or urban areas. However, most advanced cancer treatment facilities are limited to metros and large cities. Some patients may travel hundreds of kilometers to receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy. After treatment completion, these survivors may not maintain regular follow-up visits due to travel burden.
  • Physical and Emotional Fatigue: Cancer treatment causes several side effects, some of which are quite severe. Further, the cancer treatment also continues for a long time. The patients get physically and emotionally fatigued due to cancer treatment. Thus, there are chances that such patients may skip some of the follow-up visits.

5 Reasons Why Miss Your Follow-up Appointments After Cancer

You should never miss the follow-up appointment after cancer treatment. Missing the follow-up visits or not following the scheduled follow-up visit may lead to life-threatening consequences. Here are the top five reasons why you should not miss the follow-up appointments:

Planning Follow-up Check-ups: Once your treatment gets completed and the doctor discharges you from the hospital, he will provide you with the scheduled follow-up visit plan based on your current condition, which includes the frequency of visits, the medications prescribed, and the recovery rate. However, during the follow-up visits, the doctor may alter the frequency of follow-up visits and may also lower or increase the dose of medications after a comprehensive examination of your condition. Missing follow-up check-ups do not allow the doctor to monitor your health and develop an optimum post-treatment recovery plan.

Management of Your Post-treatment Complications: Most patients believe they are completely free from cancer and do not require further monitoring or treatment. However, it is necessary to note that many side effects of cancer treatment continue even after the treatment. These are known as long-term side effects. Further, other effects of the treatment may develop years after the treatment. These are known as late side effects. It is important to take advice from your doctor to manage these side effects. The risk of late side effects depends upon the type of cancer, treatment, and overall health. Due to side effects, missing the follow-up visits may affect you emotionally and physically. Some of the tests that are needed for diagnosing the late side effects are:

  • Thyroid examinations every year in patients who had undergone radiation therapy on the throat, neck, and head
  • Mammography in women who had undergone radiation therapy in the chest at a young age
  • Regular electrocardiograms in a patient administered anthracyclines as a part of chemotherapy intervention, as these drugs are known to alter heart functioning.
  • Lung function tests in patients who had undergone stem cell transplantation

Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Recurrent Cancer: Cancer survivors, especially those who have survived certain cancers like glioblastoma, ovarian cancer, and lymphomas, should never miss the follow-up appointment. Some cancers have a very high risk of recurrence. Further, they have a high chance of being missed, as the symptoms might not be similar to symptoms of prior cancer. It is thus important to visit the doctor according to the follow-up schedule. It will help in the early diagnosis and management of cancer recurrence. Diagnosing and treating cancer recurrence in the early stage significantly improves the survival rate.

Caring Advice: During your follow-up visits, the doctor also provides you with necessary advice about how to take good care of your health. It is apart from general treatment strategies to manage the side effects. These tips will help recover your body from the physical and emotional burden developed during the cancer treatment. The doctor may recommend you avoid smoking, limit the consumption of alcohol, eat a healthy diet, incorporate proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body.

Maintenance of Medical Records: During the follow-up visits, the doctor will maintain all the medical records regarding your treatment, side effects, and risk of cancer recurrence in the near future (based on various factors, including the type of cancer and the treatment).

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