Follow-up after treatment for small intestine cancer
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for small intestine cancer is often shared among the cancer specialists (called 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:
- new or increased pain
- changes in your bowel movements
- weight loss
Different types of cancer in the small intestine may have different follow-up plans and schedules. The following information is for small intestine adenocarcinoma.
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Small intestine adenocarcinoma often recurs. The chance of it recurring is greatest within 2 years, so close follow-up is needed during this time. Follow-up visits are usually scheduled every 3 months after the first treatment.
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During a follow-up visit, your healthcare team will usually ask questions about the side effects of treatment and how you’re coping.
Your doctor may do a physical exam, including:
- feeling the abdomen for any swelling or lumps
- checking your eyes and skin for
jaundice, which may mean that cancer has spread to the liver
You may have the following tests as part of follow-up care.
Liver function tests may be done to check how well the liver is working. Higher levels of certain substances may mean that small intestine adenocarcinoma has spread to the liver.
CT scan may be done to check for cancer in the abdomen, lungs and liver.
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) testing may be done every 3–6 months. If the CEA levels get higher over time, it could mean the cancer has come back.
If a recurrence is found, your healthcare team will assess you to determine the best treatment options.
Found out more about tests and procedures done during follow-up.
Questions to ask about follow-up
To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about follow-up.
American Cancer Society. Detailed Guide: Small Intestine Cancer. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2009.
Small bowel cancer. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Cancer.Net. Alexandria, VA.: American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO); 2009.
Espat NJ, Somasundar PS, and Fisichella M . Malignant neoplasms of the small intestine. eMedicine.com. Omaha: eMedicine, Inc; 2008.
National Cancer Institute. Small Intestine CancerTreatment (PDQ®) Patient Version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2009.