This information explains what to expect after you finish treatment for gynecologic cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK).
Now that you’ve finished your treatment for gynecologic cancer, you will start your follow-up care. During your follow-up visits, your healthcare provider will:
- Discuss any new findings with you. Examples are new results on CT (computerized tomography) scans, or results from blood tests or physical exams that are abnormal (outside the normal range).
- Talk with you about any new symptoms you’re having.
- Make sure you’re healing from your treatment.
- Check for any signs that the cancer is coming back.
Don’t wait for a scheduled visit if you have new symptoms. Call your healthcare provider’s office to discuss any concerns between visits.
Early Follow-up Care
After you finish treatment, you will start your follow-up care with your doctors at MSK. You may see different doctors at your follow-up visits. For example, you may see your surgeon at the first visit and your medical oncologist (cancer doctor) at your next visit. If you had radiation therapy, you may see your radiation oncologist at the third visit.
At these visits, you will have tests, such as a physical exam, a pelvic exam, a Pap smear, or blood work. Other possible tests include imaging scans and tumor markers (blood tests that look for proteins that may show if the cancer has come back).
Ongoing Follow-up Care
After the early follow-up care period, you may get care from a nurse practitioner (NP) in our Survivorship Program instead of your MSK doctors. Survivorship NPs are part of MSK’s gynecologic cancer team. Like your doctors, your NP will examine you and order tests during your visits. They will also coordinate your care plan with other healthcare professionals, such as clinical dietitian nutritionists, sexual health specialists, and integrative medicine providers.
Your NP will also talk with you about any long-term physical and emotional needs you may have. This can include helping you manage any side effects of treatment and making sure you’re getting all the care you need. After each visit, your NP will send information about your care to your local primary care provider.
Along with your follow-up care at MSK, you should have routine check-ups for the rest of your life. See your local primary care provider for regular check-ups and for problems not related to cancer.
Your primary care provider should discuss general health issues with you. These include managing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, eating well and exercising, sexual health and fertility issues, and quitting smoking (if you smoke).
Other routine healthcare includes:
- A mammogram every year beginning at age 40, or as recommended by your doctor.
- A bone density scan as recommended by your doctor.
- A colonoscopy as recommended by your doctor.
- A blood test measuring the lipid (fat) levels in your blood, including cholesterol and triglycerides. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need to have this done each year.
- A flu vaccine every year.
- A pneumonia vaccine.
- Other tests and cancer screenings recommended by your doctor.
Your doctor may recommend a different schedule based on your medical history and physical exam. Follow the instructions given to you by your doctor.
Resources for Survivors
MSK’s Resources for Life After Cancer (RLAC) Program offers social support, education, and counseling for people who have finished treatment. For a list of services, go to Services for Cancer Survivors or call 646-888-8106. For more information on survivorship, go to Living Beyond Cancer.
You won’t see your healthcare team as often as you did during treatment. You may feel anxious about this, but most people tell us this feeling goes away over time. There are resources to help you with these feelings. RLAC and MSK’s Counseling Center offer a variety of counseling services. For more information, go to Cancer Mental Health Counseling for Individual & Families or call 646-888-0100.
Your well-being is important to us. Please keep all of your follow-up appointments. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your healthcare provider.