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Follow-up Care After Treatment for Thoracic Cancer

Once your treatment ends, you will need to be followed to check for any signs of cancer and to treat any lasting effects. Your doctor will see you often at first, and then less as time goes on. You will need a chest x-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan before each visit. These tests are used to see how you are healing and to check for any sign of cancer.

Your Visit and Test Schedule after Surgery

The usual follow-up schedule is:

  • 2 to 4 weeks after surgery
  • 3 to 6 months after surgery
  • 9 to 12 months after surgery

Depending on your test results and if you have chemotherapy, your doctor may see you on a different schedule. In this case, your nurse will give you more instructions. Your visits will be every 6 months for the second year and then once a year thereafter.

For Patients Treated With Chemotherapy

Many patients have side effects after chemotherapy ends. The most common side effects are:

  • Fatigue (feeling tired)
  • Numbness, tingling, and possibly pain in the fingers and toes

Many people worry about cancer coming back. They have questions about ways to avoid illness with diet or exercise. Your doctor or nurse can give you this information and suggest groups that might be helpful.

The Thoracic Cancer Survivorship Program

One or 2 years after treatment, based on your type of cancer, you can join the Thoracic Cancer Survivorship Program. This program will help you recover from the physical, psychological, and social effects of cancer and its treatment. A nurse practitioner (NP) will care for you. The NP is an expert in survivorship care and a member of the thoracic cancer care team. If needed, he or she will discuss your care with your doctor.