Follow-up after treatment for lung cancer
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for lung cancer is often shared among the cancer specialists (medical, surgical and radiation oncologists) and your family doctor. Your healthcare team will work with you to decide on follow-up care to meet your needs.
Don't wait until your next scheduled appointment to report any new symptoms and symptoms that don't go away. Tell your healthcare team if you:
have a cough that is getting worse
start coughing up blood
have shortness of breath or find it hard to breathe
have pain in your chest, stomach, back, legs or hips
start losing weight
The chance that lung cancer will come back (recur) is greatest within 2 years, so you will need close follow-up during this time.
Schedule for follow-up visits @(Model.HeadingTag)>
Follow-up visits for lung cancer are usually scheduled:
3 to 6 months after initial treatment, then
every 6 months for 2 or 3 years, then
once a year for 5 years
During follow-up visits @(Model.HeadingTag)>
During a follow-up visit, your healthcare team will usually ask questions about the side effects of treatment and how you're coping. If you smoked when you were diagnosed, they will also ask if you have stopped smoking and offer you help to quit if you still smoke.
Your doctor may do a physical exam, including:
listening to the lungs or the remaining lung
feeling the abdomen for any swelling or lumps
Tests are often part of follow-up care. You may have:
blood chemistry tests to check if the lung cancer has spread to the liver, bones or kidneys
a CT scan or chest x-ray to look for any changes to the lungs or the area where the tumour was removed
If the cancer has come back, you and your healthcare team will discuss a plan for your treatment and care.
Stephen Lam, MD, FRCPC
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