Follow-up care varies from patient to patient. Your doctor will prescribe the specific follow-up care you need after your radiation therapy is completed.
Once your course of radiation therapy is finished, it will be important to have regular exams to check the results of your treatment as well as regular checkups and possibly lab tests or x-rays. Your radiation oncologist will want to see you at least once after your treatment ends. Follow-up care, in addition to checking the results of your treatment, might also include additional cancer treatment, rehabilitation and/or counseling.
Many people continue to work during radiation therapy. If you have stopped working, you can return to your job as soon as you feel ready. If your job requires lifting or heavy physical activity, you may need to change your activities until you have regained your strength.
If you have any employment issue questions, you can contact the Cancer Information Service or the American Cancer Society. They can help you find local agencies that respond to problems cancer survivors sometimes face regarding employment and insurance rights.
Questions to ask once you finish radiation therapy:
- How often do I need to return for checkups?
- Why do I need additional x-rays, scans, and/or blood tests?
- Will I need chemotherapy, surgery or other treatments?
- How soon can I return to my regular activities?
- Do I need to take any special precautions?
- Do I need a special diet?
- Can/should I exercise?
When should you call the doctor?
After treatment for cancer, your doctor will want you to report any unusual symptoms. Tell your doctor at once if you have:
- A pain that doesn’t go away, especially if it’s always in the same place
- Lumps, bumps or swelling
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- A fever or cough that doesn’t go away
- Unusual rashes, bruises or bleeding
- Any other concerns mentioned by your doctor or nurse