Follow Up Guidelines from ASCO
ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) has just published guidelines for follow-up care after breast cancer treatment. Here are the highlights:
- Follow-up care for breast cancer includes coping with side effects of treatment and lowering the risk of recurrence.
- ASCO's recommendations for follow-up care include regular visits to your doctor and mammographies.
- People with breast cancer should talk with their doctors about a follow-up care plan and how to coordinate this care between the oncologist and their primary care or family doctor.
The purpose of follow-up care for breast cancer is to help maintain good health after treatment, which includes coping with the side effects of treatment, reducing the risk of recurrence (return of the cancer), and watching for signs of recurrence. ASCO's recommendations for breast cancer follow-up care are listed on page two.
Most breast cancer recurrences are discovered by patients between doctor visits. Tell your doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
- New lumps in the breast
- Bone pain
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Persistent headaches
- Persistent coughing
- Rash on breast
- Nipple discharge (liquid coming from the nipple)
The following tests are not currently recommended by ASCO for regular follow-up care because they have not been shown to lengthen the life of a person with breast cancer:
- A complete blood count (CBC) test and liver and kidney function tests
- Chest x-ray
- Bone scan
- Liver ultrasound
- Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan
- Fluorodeoxyglucose-positron-emission tomography (FDG-PET) scan
- Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test
- Breast cancer tumor markers, such as CA 15-3, CA 27.29, and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA).
Learn more about ASCO's recommendations for tumor markers for breast cancer at cancer.net/whattoknow
To read the whole report: