Log in »

Follow-up Care After Treatment for Non-Hodgkin or Hodgkin Lymphoma

This information explains follow-up care after treatment for non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphoma at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).

Now that you have finished your treatment for lymphoma, you will begin follow-up care. These visits are an important part of your care. They let you and your doctor discuss any new findings or symptoms. They also help increase the chance of finding any sign of the cancer returning.

You will begin your follow-up care with your oncologist at MSK. Over time, your oncologist will discuss with you when you should return to your primary care doctor and what testing should be done by which doctor. Your primary care doctor will manage the healthcare needs that are not part of your cancer treatment.

The usual follow-up schedule is below, but your doctor may change it based on your individual needs. You will have a physical exam and blood work at each of these visits. You will have an imaging test at some of them. Your doctor will also decide if you need any other tests, some of which are listed in the “Routine Health Care” section below. These visits may occur more often in the first few years after your treatment. The number of visits will decrease over time.

Years After Treatment

Frequency of Visits

Usual Tests

1 to 2

Every 3 months

  • Physical exam
  • Blood work
  • Imaging (every 6 months)
  • Other tests as needed

3

Every 6 months

  • Physical exam
  • Blood work
  • Imaging (every 6 months)
  • Other tests as needed

4 to 5

Every 6 months

  • Physical exam
  • Blood work
  • Imaging (every 12 months)
  • Other tests as needed
After 5*

Every 12 months           

  • Physical exam
  • Blood work
  • Imaging (if your doctor thinks it's necessary)
  • Ongoing routine care

*After about 5 years of follow-up care at MSK, your oncologist may recommend that you return to your local primary care doctor for ongoing follow-up care.

Imaging Tests

For your imaging tests, you will get a computed tomography (CT) scan of your chest, abdomen, and pelvis. If you had lymphoma involving your chest, you may get chest x-rays during the visits when you don’t have a CT scan. Your doctor may also recommend that you get a positron emission tomography (PET) scan.

Routine Health Care

You should also have routine health care for the rest of your life. See your primary care doctor for regular check-ups and for problems not related to cancer. 

Your primary care doctor should discuss general health issues with you. These include managing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, eating right and exercising, quitting smoking, and fertility issues. Other routine health care includes:

  • A mammogram every year beginning at age 40, if you are a woman. If you have had radiation to your chest or armpit, you may need to start getting mammograms and MRIs earlier, either 5 to7 years after your treatment was finished, or at age 40, whichever comes first.
  • A blood test measures the lipid (fat) levels in your blood. These include cholesterol and triglycerides.
    • You may need to get these tests based on the medications or radiation therapy you received.
    • Your doctor or nurse will tell you if you need to have this done each year.
  • A carotid ultrasound, which is a test that looks at the carotid arteries in your neck to see if they are narrowed or blocked. Your doctor may recommend this test if you had radiation to your neck.
  • An echocardiogram (echo), which is a test that uses ultrasound to take pictures of your heart. It lets your doctor see how well your heart is working. You should have this test done about 1 year after you finish your treatment, or when your doctor recommends it
  • Thyroid function tests, which are blood tests that look at how well your thyroid is working. These tests should be done at every follow-up visit.
  • Pulmonary function tests (PFTs), which are breathing tests that measure how well your lungs are working. Your doctor may recommend PFTs after treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • A flu vaccine every year
  • A pneumonia vaccine every 5 years
  • Other tests and cancer screening recommended by your doctor

Resources for Survivors

Our Resources for Life After Cancer (RLAC) Program offers social support, education, and counseling for patients who have finished treatment. You can find a list of services, including a group specifically for lymphoma survivors, online at: www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/survivorship/services-survivors.

For more information on survivorship, go to: www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/survivorship.

Your well-being is important to us. Please keep all of your follow-up appointments. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with your doctor or nurse.