After Breast Cancer treatment, what next?

Posted by Laurie @roch, Tue, Feb 19 5:54am

I am wondering what type of follow-up care is done after you have finished your breast cancer treatment?

I am looking forward to spring and being does with treatments but anxious about what happens next. I am sure this varies depending on your type of cancer and what clinic you are receiving your treatment at. I have ER/PR+ , HER- breast cancer with 2 positive lymph nodes. I had a lumpectomy and the two lymph nodes removed in Sept 2018 and have one chemo treatment left and then I will start radiation at Mayo Rochester.

I will ask these questions to oncologist on next visit, but would like to know what post treatment care people have received so I can ask right questions.

Some of questions I have are?

– Do your continue to see your oncologist after treatment is done or does you primary care physician take care of treating side effects and answer questions once done with treatment?

– If I decide to take hormone therapy after treatment, does oncologist or primary care doctor monitor?

– How often do you have mammograms? Do you just get screening mammograms or does your doctor order other screening tests?

– Are there tests that they run to make sure cancer has not spread to other parts of your body or additional lymph nodes?

Thanks for your input
Laurie

Laurie, you're smart to be asking questions in advance. As you suggest, each doctor might handle things differently. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer 5 years ago, had surgery, then 5 months of chemo. After my last chemo, my oncologist explained that I'd see her every 3 months the first year, then lesser frequencies. My surgeon had ordered a mammogram for a year after my surgery (which came back clear). There are tests to check for cancer in other parts of our bodies – CT, MRI, and PET scans, but none of my doctors ordered them right away. Oh, yes, for you maybe after radiation they'll order a scan. For me, the following year I felt a hard spot at the top of my stomach. I didn't want to overreact (Oh, no, it's Cancer!!!), so just scheduled with my primary care, who ordered an ultrasound, then referred me back to my oncologist. Breast cancer had spread to my liver, so more chemo. Then, 6 months ago, I was starting to feel light headed sometimes, so I asked my oncologist about a brain MRI. It turned out to be breast cancer in my brain. Anyway, I'm still mainly healthy except for having cancer. Doctors will order different things, or nothing. I think it's up to us to really keep track of our bodies and ask our doctors to check things out.

Blessings to you on finishing your chemo, then having radiation. Keep thinking and asking questions, paying attention to your body, and holding onto your loved ones.

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@wendeth

Laurie, you're smart to be asking questions in advance. As you suggest, each doctor might handle things differently. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer 5 years ago, had surgery, then 5 months of chemo. After my last chemo, my oncologist explained that I'd see her every 3 months the first year, then lesser frequencies. My surgeon had ordered a mammogram for a year after my surgery (which came back clear). There are tests to check for cancer in other parts of our bodies – CT, MRI, and PET scans, but none of my doctors ordered them right away. Oh, yes, for you maybe after radiation they'll order a scan. For me, the following year I felt a hard spot at the top of my stomach. I didn't want to overreact (Oh, no, it's Cancer!!!), so just scheduled with my primary care, who ordered an ultrasound, then referred me back to my oncologist. Breast cancer had spread to my liver, so more chemo. Then, 6 months ago, I was starting to feel light headed sometimes, so I asked my oncologist about a brain MRI. It turned out to be breast cancer in my brain. Anyway, I'm still mainly healthy except for having cancer. Doctors will order different things, or nothing. I think it's up to us to really keep track of our bodies and ask our doctors to check things out.

Blessings to you on finishing your chemo, then having radiation. Keep thinking and asking questions, paying attention to your body, and holding onto your loved ones.

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@mendith

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I think it's different for everyone, but I had my right breast removed in February, 2017, along with 10 lymph nodes. Four chemo sessions and 30 radiation treatments, and after two years I'm clean. Started on Femara but too much bone pain so switched to Irimidex and no appreciable side effects. I take Boniva once a month to keep my bones strong. Mammograms every year but so far no need for MRIs or other scans. That's about it. I'm 81 and I actually feel pretty good, considering. I had excellent care at two different Cancer clinics and get checkups at each once a year.

Liked by trixie1313, wendeth

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Laurie, you're so wise to prepare ahead. I'd like to bring @cherlea @tammyp @elizm @cindylb @cancersucks and @ihnsbc into this discussion to add to the already great comments you've received regarding questions to ask for when treatment is done.

I'd be interested to hear about anyone's experience at cancer survivorship clinics that shift from disease-focused treatment to wellness-focused care. Here's some information about Mayo's Cancer Survivorship Clinics https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/oncology/cancer-survivorship-clinics/services Anyone?

Liked by Laurie

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It’s great you have time to think and ask questions before treatment . I was on hormone treatment after 2 lumpectomys, 30 treatments of radiation and the following day when radiation was done I started the anastrozole for 2 months before I had to come off because of my reaction to the medication . What I want to tell you is it’s really important to build your strength back with nutrition and exercise . No matter how hard , plan a head to get help . My radiologist put me in a program at the Ymca . Called a live strong program for 12 weeks , 2 – 90 min sessions a week . I start that today and I really need it .

Liked by trixie1313, Laurie

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@cancersucks

It’s great you have time to think and ask questions before treatment . I was on hormone treatment after 2 lumpectomys, 30 treatments of radiation and the following day when radiation was done I started the anastrozole for 2 months before I had to come off because of my reaction to the medication . What I want to tell you is it’s really important to build your strength back with nutrition and exercise . No matter how hard , plan a head to get help . My radiologist put me in a program at the Ymca . Called a live strong program for 12 weeks , 2 – 90 min sessions a week . I start that today and I really need it .

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This program is with trainers that work with cancer patients do you will not be competing with healthy people in a exercise class

Liked by cmd03

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@cancersucks
and there is the Phoenix Yoga Program for breast Cancer survivors.. Free, a restorative Yoga class offered x 2 / week
Wednesdays and Thursdays
https://www.climbroca.com/phoenix-yoga-program/
The link provides more information and the times and location… You should check it out…. Awesome class!!

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@cancersucks

It’s great you have time to think and ask questions before treatment . I was on hormone treatment after 2 lumpectomys, 30 treatments of radiation and the following day when radiation was done I started the anastrozole for 2 months before I had to come off because of my reaction to the medication . What I want to tell you is it’s really important to build your strength back with nutrition and exercise . No matter how hard , plan a head to get help . My radiologist put me in a program at the Ymca . Called a live strong program for 12 weeks , 2 – 90 min sessions a week . I start that today and I really need it .

Jump to this post

What was your side effects to the anastrozole? Did your doctor put you on another hormone treatment?

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@islandelder

I think it's different for everyone, but I had my right breast removed in February, 2017, along with 10 lymph nodes. Four chemo sessions and 30 radiation treatments, and after two years I'm clean. Started on Femara but too much bone pain so switched to Irimidex and no appreciable side effects. I take Boniva once a month to keep my bones strong. Mammograms every year but so far no need for MRIs or other scans. That's about it. I'm 81 and I actually feel pretty good, considering. I had excellent care at two different Cancer clinics and get checkups at each once a year.

Jump to this post

I started on Femara about 5 weeks ago and so far no side effects. When did you start the feel the bone pain and Where did you feel it? Any other side effects on Femara? And on Arimidex – no side effects whatsoever?

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