In the hospital, patients receive 24-hour care. At the time of discharge, they receive an appointment for follow-up. Sometimes, I would hear that patients would skip their follow-up visits and it made me sad. All cancer patients need follow-up care.
“Many people finish their primary treatment for cancer unaware of their heightened health risks and are ill-prepared to manage their future health care needs. Furthermore, recommended follow-up care is often not delivered and the psychosocial needs of cancer patients are often not addressed.” Hewitt, M., Greenfield, S., and Stovall, E. (Eds.). (2006). From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition. (P. 4). Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press.
It’s not always easy going back to the oncologist office for a re-check. Flashes of the chemo room experience can invade our minds. Waiting for the results of a CT or PET scan can be a challenge; anxiety can fester about what the result might be. As scary as it might be to get follow-up care by an oncologist, it’s vital for all cancer survivors. General practitioners might not be versed in the nuances and details of cancer care follow-up, screening and prevention. I still go to my oncologist yearly for regular check-ups and get blood work done-12 years post diagnosis. It’s very important!