What happens now that treatment has finished.

The main part of your breast cancer treatment is over. Well done! This can be a great relief but it can be daunting too.

Some people feel anxious as contact with their health care team becomes less frequent. For others, they are pleased to have fewer doctor visits and are keen to get their life back to normal which we strongly encourage. Breast cancer has been a stressful time in your life but does not define who you are in the future. Even though treatment may be finished, regular follow up is recommended in the future and will be arranged.

Appointments will be spaced out between all your specialists so we can check how you recover after treatment both physically and emotionally.

Why do I need follow up appointments?

Each of your specialists is concerned about a different aspect of your care. They will monitor and treat any ongoing side effects and see how you are recovering and coping after treatment. They will ask if you have any questions and investigate any new symptoms.

Always let your specialist know if something is worrying you. Your GP is kept informed with a letter every time you have a review appointment.

Many people report feeling anxious before a review appointment. This is normal as you are revisiting a time when you were vulnerable.

What do I bring to my review appointment?

Write down any questions you may have.

You may want to contact the breast care nurse if you have a lot of questions or concerns.

Breast cancer rehabilitation program

The ENHANCE program is available through the Epworth Hospital. It aims to improve physical and emotional function after your treatment.

Referrals can be made by any of your health care team. A similar service is also offered through some of the public health services.

Surgeon-

Clinical review:
  • 3-4 weeks after treatment completion
  • 3 monthly alternating with your oncologist
  • 6 monthly
  • Yearly for at least 10 years
Imaging:
  • Every year unless you have had bilateral mastectomies

Oncologist-

Clinical review (approximately):
  • Every 3 months for the first 2 years alternating with your surgeon
  • 4 monthly in the 3rd year
  • 6 monthly in the 4th year
  • Yearly in the 5th year onward

Radiation Oncologist-

Clinical review at:
  • 6 weeks after radiotherapy completion
  • 12 months
  • 18 months. If no concerns after this time you may be discharged

We will endeavour to coordinate reviews among all specialists so you are seen regularly through the year.

Please be aware that you can call at any time with any concerns and we can arrange an earlier review.

This information is a guide only. For further advice or assistance please contact the Melbourne Breast Unit

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