There are more than 2.5 million breast
cancer survivors living in the US. Thanks to advances in the early detection and treatment of cancer, most women
diagnosed with breast cancer in the US will live for many years. But once the cancer is gone, they
often face a new set of physical, emotional, and financial challenges.
Establishing a plan for follow-up care and maintaining open and ongoing communication
with a doctor can help cancer survivors stay healthy and cancer-free.
survivors are at greater risk for cancer recurrence and developing new cancers
due to the effects of treatment, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, underlying
genetics, or risk factors that contributed to their first occurrence of cancer.
The majority of breast cancer recurrence happens in the first five years
after cancer treatment ends.
beating cancer with a marathon of tests and treatments, the last thing on most
survivors’ minds is more medical care. But regular doctor’s visits can help
improve quality of life after cancer and provide an opportunity to ask
questions and get a doctor’s advice.Additionally,
early detection of any new cancers increase the chance of survival and
reassurance on the absence of cancer strengthens peace of mind.
you have completed cancer treatment, your follow-up plan of care should include
a schedule of recommended follow-up visits, screenings, and medical tests and should
specify which doctor in your medical team will be responsible for each. The
frequency of follow-up visits should be adjusted according to your individual
needs. The American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends that examinations
be performed every three to six months for the first three years, every six to
12 months for years four and five, and annually thereafter. Mammography should
be performed on an annual basis after treatment for breast cancer ends.
If you have undergone breast-conserving surgery, a
post-treatment mammogram should be obtained at least six months after
completion of radiation therapy. Then, unless otherwise indicated, yearly
mammograms should be performed.
In addition to continued care, you should consume a
healthy diet, exercise, not smoke, and drink alcohol, moderately, if at all.
any concerns about health care costs with your doctor. Cancer can create heavy
economic burdens on women and their families. Resources are available for women
who need financial assistance to cover health care costs.
more information, visit the National Cancer Institute’s “Coping with Cancer” webpage
at cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping. ♀