Follow-up after treatment for vaginal cancer
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for vaginal cancer is often shared among the cancer specialists (oncologists, surgeon) 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:
- pain or an increase in pain in the pelvis, back or legs
- bleeding from the vagina that is different from your normal menstrual period
- vaginal bleeding if you have reached menopause
- new changes in bladder or bowel habits
- swelling in the legs
The chance that vaginal cancer will come back (recur) is greatest within 2 years, so close follow-up is needed during this time.
Schedule for follow-up visits @(Model.HeadingTag)>
Follow-up visits for vaginal cancer are usually scheduled every 3–6 months for the first 5 years after initial treatment.
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.
Your doctor may do a physical exam, including:
- pelvic examination and rectal examination
- Pap test – even if surgery has been done
- feeling the lymph nodes in the pelvis and groin
Tests are often part of follow-up care. You may have:
If the cancer has come back, you and your healthcare team will discuss a plan for your treatment and care.
American Cancer Society. Vaginal Cancer. 2014: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003146-pdf.pdf.
Bardawil T. Vaginal Cancer. 2015: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/269188-overview.
National Cancer Institute. Vaginal Cancer Treatment for Health Professionals (PDQ®). 2015: http://www.cancer.gov/types/vaginal/hp.
Oleszewski K . Vulvar and vaginal cancer. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. (eds.). Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2011: 69: pp. 1719-1739.