Regular check-ups are important.
The need for health care does not end when your course of radiation therapy is over. You will need regular check-ups and perhaps lab tests and X-rays. The Radiation Oncologist will see you at least once more after your treatments. The doctor who referred you may also schedule follow-up visits as needed.
What does follow-up care involve?
Follow-up care, in addition to checking on the results of your radiation therapy, might include further treatment, rehabilitation and counseling. Taking good care of yourself is also a part of follow-up after radiation treatments.
Who provides care after therapy?
After your treatments are completed, you will be scheduled for a check-up with the Radiation Oncologist. Some patients return to the Radiation Oncologist for additional follow-up visits.
You may be referred.
Others are referred back to their original doctor, to a surgeon or to a doctor who is trained to give chemotherapy (treatment with anti-cancer drugs). The next steps in follow-up care depend on the type and stage of your disease and on other treatments that you had or expect to have.
The Radiation Oncologist is usually the primary physician.
When radiation has been the principle means of treating cancer, the Radiation Oncologist is usually the primary physician to see for follow-up.
LMC Tumor Registry
The Lexington Medical Center Tumor Registry also follows all patients treated in this facility.
What other care might be needed?
Individual needs vary; your Radiation Oncologist will prescribe and schedule the types of follow-up care that best suit your case. Don't hesitate to ask about tests or treatments that your Radiation Oncologist recommends. Try to learn as much as you can about things you should do to care for yourself.
How can I help myself after radiation therapy?
Patients who have had radiation therapy need to continue, at least for a short while, some of the special care used during treatments. For instance, you could have skin changes for several weeks after your treatments end.
Be gentle with the skin in the treatment area.
You should continue to be gentle with skin in the treatment area until all signs of irritation are gone. Don't try to scrub the inked lines that mark your treatment area; they will fade and wear away soon. On completion of your radiotherapy treatments, your Radiation Oncologist will instruct you to apply a good moisturizing lotion to the treated area daily.
Your body will benefit from extra rest.
You may find that you still need extra rest while your healthy tissues are rebuilding. Keep taking naps as needed and try to get more sleep at night. You'll need some time to regain your strength, so don't plan to resume a full schedule of activities right away.
Report any unusual symptoms.
After treatment of cancer, you're likely to be more aware of your body and to notice even slight changes in how you feel from day to day. The Radiation Oncologist will want you to report any unusual symptoms. If you have any of the problems listed below, tell your Radiation Oncologist at once if you notice:
- A pain that persists, especially if it's always in the same place
- Lumps, bumps or swelling
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- A fever or cough that persists
- Any other signs or symptoms mentioned by your Radiation Oncologist.