I was cancer -free," he says. Ronan has made the momentous crossing from cancer patient to cancer survivor.
Now he enters follow-up care, a stage familiar to almost 10 million other Americans who have beaten the disease. When cancer treatment ends, a survivor still undergoes regularly scheduled medical exams and tests to check for signs that the cancer has returned or spread to another part of the body. Doctors also screen for other types of cancers and watch for side effects from cancer treatment. During this important period, patients can work with their doctors to keep an eye out for new problems, cancer experts tell WebMD. Surviving cancer is a blessing.
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While radiation and chemotherapy can offer a cure, they can also create side effects, such as fatigue or infertility -- or even new cancers a decade or two down the road. Through follow-up, "we want to make sure that we minimize the serious side effects that may occur," she says. The period after cancer treatment is fraught with distinct stresses. What's more, there are no more treatments to go through; no more intensive contact with doctors; no more battle mentality. Instead, the follow-up period involves watchfulness, and a cancer survivor may feel dread before appointments or during the anniversary of a cancer diagnosis.
Care After Cancer Treatment
Ronan says that Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph system, changed his outlook on life. He'll need follow-up appointments about every three months for the first two years, then less frequently. He'll also require follow-up scans. In general, survivors see their doctors for follow-up exams about every three or four months during the first two to three years after treatment, according to the National Cancer Institute.
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But follow-up schedules vary from person to person, depending on one's age, general health, the type of cancer, the treatment received, and other factors. Many, but not all, patients will require testing. That, too, is individualized. Common follow-up tests include: imaging procedures such as CT scans, X-rays, and ultrasound ; endoscopy inserting a thin, lighted tube into the body to examine organs , and blood tests.
Care After Cancer Treatment
It promotes success and best practices for home care, hospice and related home health support services. Housed at the UNM Cancer Center, the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance is a statewide network of healthcare institutions and physicians dedicated to providing New Mexico cancer patients and their families and loved ones with local access to the latest experimental treatments available and information developed through cancer research studies. The Alliance enables all New Mexicans to access new, experimental treatments without the expense of leaving the state.
The Breast and Cervical Cancer Program offers free pap tests and mammograms to eligible women who are underserved and ages 30 or older. In this and other ways, the program seeks to improve access to high-quality breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services for underserved women in New Mexico. The program also works to increase public awareness through education about prevention, disease processes and the importance of regular screening exams for early detection.
Patient and Family Support Services
The Comprehensive Cancer Program offers cancer education, information and resources to the public and healthcare providers. This organization offers education and support to help all people affected by prostate cancer make informed decisions about how to fight the disease. Services include counseling, early detection and screening, educational materials, seminars and support groups. Vitalant is a nonprofit community blood center and provides blood and special services to patients in more than 1, hospitals across 40 states.
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There are six Vitalant centers in New Mexico. ENCOREplus provides transportation assistance for women to get to appointments and personal reminders to get annual mammograms. A cancer diagnosis raises a wide range of challenges and concerns. Fortunately, there are local and national resources to assist you with many of the issues that come up.
This fact sheet describes several kinds of services available to people with cancer and their loved ones, and how to find the help you need. General Information.
Many reputable general and diagnosis-specific cancer organizations provide reliable, up-to-date information on treatment options, clinical trials, side-effect management and more. Emotional Support. Cancer can make you feel lonely, scared or distressed. Counseling , support groups , patient-to-patient networks and other kinds of support are available to help you cope with such emotions.
Financial Help. There are organizations and companies that help people with cancer and their families with medical billing, insurance, and reimbursement issues.