Once you have completed your breast cancer treatment, your doctors will monitor you regularly. It’s very important to go to all of your follow-up appointments.
During these visits, you will be able to discuss any concerns you have, and talk about treatment side effects. The doctor or nurse will perform clinical breast exams and arrange further imaging to look for signs of cancer. If an appointment has not been made please follow up with your surgical team or breast care nurse.
You should also practice breast awareness and monitor your own breasts closely for any changes or abnormalities. If you notice anything, contact your doctor straight away.
Follow up appointments
Some find going back to the Breast Clinic for appointments difficult as it can bring back feelings of anxiety, and for others the follow up visits can be reassuring. Attending follow up visits is all part of looking after yourself once treatment stops.
Mammograms should restart after treatment on a yearly basis for at least 10 years and longer for younger women. Mammograms can be ordered by your GP or your specialist.After five years, women aged 45-69 can return to the Breastscreen Aotearoa screening programme for their alternate year mammograms.
Even if you have undergone a mastectomy, your other breast still needs a yearly mammogram. Mark on your calendar which month your yearly mammogram is due. If you have not received an appointment for a mammogram by the end of that month contact your GP or specialist.
Blood tests to monitor tumour markers, regular CT scans etc. are not generally useful for monitoring patients with no symptoms and don’t form part of standard follow-up for breast cancer.