Follow-Up Care for Rectal Cancer

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, it’s one of our priorities to continue to check in with you once your active treatments are over. We want to be sure you’re healing well and managing any side effects of your treatment. We also need to watch for any signs that your cancer is back (called recurrence). We offer comprehensive follow-up care for people who’ve been treated here as part of our institution-wide Survivorship Initiative.

You’ll be cared for by a nurse practitioner (NP) who specializes in rectal cancer survivorship. He or she will monitor you for signs of cancer recurrence. Your NP will also focus on identifying, preventing, and controlling any long-term and late effects (side effects that arise long after your treatment is over).

During a survivorship follow-up visit, your NP will:

  • perform a physical exam and review your medical history
  • complete an assessment to detect recurrence of cancer
  • identify, evaluate, and manage any long-term or late effects of cancer and its treatment (both physical and psychological)
  • discuss methods to prevent new health problems and make health recommendations related to nutritionexercise, and quitting tobacco use
  • make healthy lifestyle recommendations, including nutritionexercise, and tobacco cessation
  • recommend appropriate cancer screening for other cancers

Your NP will work closely with your MSK treatment team. He or she will provide you with a treatment summary including information about all the treatments you’ve had, plus a survivorship care plan that you can share with your primary care doctor and any other medical care providers. Your doctors can then include this information in your overall medical plan.

After each follow-up visit, your NP will continue to update your other medical providers.

As your need for NP visits decreases, we may recommend that you shift your care to your primary care doctor or gastroenterologist. The timing for this transition depends on which type of rectal cancer you had and what type of treatment you received.