Cancer care does not simply end with active treatment. For the coming months/years, either your oncologist or general physician will continue to oversee your recovery, monitor recovery, and check to see if the cancer has returned. It's important to talk with your doctor about any concern you may have about your future health. Follow Up Care is essentially to ensuring that you can stay healthy well into the future.
A major goal of follow-up care is to check for a recurrence. A recurrence is the return of the cancer because cancer cells may remain undetected in the body. Over time, these few cancer cells may grow and multiply and will eventually become detectable in tests. This ca happens even years after the original diagnosis. A recurrence can be regional (same part of the body) or distant (another part of the body). If the cancer is distant, your doctor will refer to it has metastatic. Unfortunately, it is impossible for doctors to know who will experience a recurrence. However, your doctor will continue to monitor you, and if a recurrence is suspected, more diagnostic tests will be issued in order to catch the cancer early if present.
Fear of recurrence is a common concern among cancer survivors. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that you cannot control whether the cancer returns, but you can control how much fear will dictate your life. Talk to your doctor honestly and openly. Doctors are very knowledgeable and understanding the specifics for your cancer can help eliminate some of the fear surrounding it. You should also strive to recognize your emotions. Many people try to hide their fear and anxiety, but it often helps to discuss them with a trusted friend or mentor (link the word mentor to the mentorship page). If this still makes you anxious, try journaling. Talking or writing about your concerns can help you understand your fear better and aid you in coping. It is also important to take care of yourself physically, such as eating nutritious meals and sleeping properly. This will make you feel better, and you can feel that you have more control over your own personal health. Additionally, this can reduce stress. Other ways to reduce stress include spending time with loved ones and making new experiences.