Follow-up care

After your treatment has finished, you will have regular check-ups. These will allow your health care team to monitor your health and well-being. Follow-up care differs depending on the type of cancer and treatment, the side effects experienced, and any other health conditions you are managing.

To help prepare for the time after treatment, you may find it helpful to write down any questions you have and discuss them with your treatment team. 

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Survivorship care plans

Many treatment centres now work with people as they approach the end of their treatment to develop survivorship care plans.

These care plans usually:

  • provide a summary of your treatment
  • set out a clear schedule for follow-up care, including contact details for the health professionals involved in your treatment and any screening tests
  • list any symptoms to watch out for and possible long-term side effects
  • identify any medical or psychosocial problems that may develop after treatment and ways to manage them
  • suggest ways to adopt a healthier lifestyle after treatment.

A survivorship care plan can help improve communication between you, your family and all the health care professionals involved in your care (e.g. your GP, treatment centre, psychologist, exercise physiologist, dietitian and physiotherapist).

A survivorship care plan is not a fixed document, it should be reviewed regularly as your needs change. You can ask your health care professionals to update your plan during consultations. 

If you have not received a plan, it may be helpful to develop your own survivorship care plan and review it with your doctor. For
more information, visit the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre  or Journey Forward.

Your treatment summary

If you don’t have a survivorship care plan, ask your surgeon, oncologist or specialist nurse for a written summary of your cancer and treatment. A copy should be given to your GP and other health care providers. This summary should include the following information:

  • cancer type
  • date of diagnosis
  • test results and staging information
  • overview of treatment (e.g. surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy).

Taking charge of your care

Self-management is an important part of survivorship. With the support of your health care team, there are many steps you can take to manage your own wellness, including monitoring your body for any signs that the cancer has returned, managing any side effects and adopting a healthier lifestyle.

This information was last reviewed in April 2018
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