At Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of our priorities is to continue to check in with you once your active treatments are over. We want to be sure that you’re healing well and managing any side effects of your treatment. We also need to watch for any signs that the cancer has come back. This is 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. We will monitor you for signs of cancer recurrence. Your NP will also focus on identifying, preventing, and controlling any long-term or late effects (side effects that come up long after your treatment is over).
What to Expect During an MSK Survivorship Follow-Up Visit
During a survivorship follow-up visit, your NP will:
- perform a physical exam and review your medical history
- complete an assessment to see if the cancer has come back
- 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 nutrition, exercise, and quitting tobacco use
- recommend appropriate cancer screening for other cancers
Your NP will work closely with your MSK cancer treatment team. We will provide you with a treatment summary. This will include 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 visits with your NP decreases, we may recommend that you shift your care to your primary care doctor or gastroenterologist. The timing for this change depends on which type of rectal cancer you had and what type of treatment you received.