You are finished with your active cancer treatment and moving to the next phase of your life and next phase of your care. You may find your life returns to what you knew before you had cancer. On the other hand, you may find that physical, psychosocial or financial concerns continue because of earlier treatments. Patients often call this the "new" normal.
All cancer patients live with the possibility that their cancer will recur or spread (metastasize). Some patients also may develop secondary cancers, some of which may be a result of treatments used for their original cancer.
It is important to have regular follow-up care, including frequent visits to a primary care doctor. Ask your doctor about age-appropriate cancer screenings. You also might need cancer screenings for other cancers at an earlier age because of your history of one type of cancer.
See MD Anderson’s list of recommended cancer screening exams.
Ask your oncologist for a treatment summary and recommended follow-up care plan. This plan should include:
- Type of cancer you had
- Treatment you had for your cancer
- Possible side effects of your treatment
- When to come back for follow-up visits
- Type of follow-up tests you will need
- Tips for staying healthy
MD Anderson’s survivorship algorithms depict best practices for care delivery by providing management tools for patients under surveillance for cancer recurrence and secondary cancers.
Print the MD Anderson cancer survivorship algorithm that best describes your cancer. And share it with your doctor. Your doctor can use this chart to create a tailored care plan for you.
MD Anderson Survivorship Clinics
Our survivorship clinics are here to help you develop a plan for your ongoing health care. Each survivorship clinic focuses on surveillance of your primary cancer, risk reduction and early detection of new or recurrent cancers, management and monitoring for late effects of cancer or its treatment, and your psychosocial health. Each of these is important for total wellness.
- Breast cancer
- Childhood cancers
- Colorectal cancers
- Genitourinary cancers
- Gynecologic cancers
- Head & neck cancers
- Lung cancer
- Stem cell transplant survivors
- Thyroid cancer
If you follow up at MD Anderson, it is still important to see a primary care doctor and to make sure they know about your cancer and your follow-up care plan.