Life after cancer will mean returning to some familiar things while also making some new choices.
When treatment ends, your doctors will still want to watch you closely. It’s very important to go to all of your follow-up appointments, even if these appointments remind you of the cancer journey and may trigger a fear of recurrence. During these visits, your doctors will ask questions about your health condition, and may perform tests or exams to assess treatment side effects and any possible signs of cancer.
You can also talk with your doctor about developing a survivorship care plan for you. This plan might include:
- A suggested schedule for follow-up exams and tests
- A schedule for other tests you might need in the future, such as early detection (screening) tests for other types of cancer, or tests to look for long-term health effects from your cancer or its treatment
- A list of possible late- or long-term side effects from your treatment, including what to watch for and when you should contact your doctor
- Diet and physical activity suggestions
- Reminders to keep your appointments with your primary care provider, who will monitor your general health care
Keeping health insurance and copies of your medical records
Even after treatment, it’s very important to keep health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.
At some point after your cancer treatment, you might have to see a new doctor who doesn’t know your medical history. It’s important to keep copies of your medical records to be able to give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment.
Can I lower my risk of soft tissue sarcoma progressing or coming back?
If you have had a soft tissue sarcoma, you probably want to know if there are things you can do that might lower your risk of the cancer growing or coming back, such as exercising, eating a certain type of diet, or taking nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear if there are things you can do that will help. No dietary supplements have been shown to reduce sarcoma risk, and seeing as these are not as strictly regulated as medications, it’s important to discuss it with your healthcare team before trying any nutritional supplements.
Adopting healthy behaviors such as not smoking, eating well, getting regular physical activity, and staying at a healthy weight can have positive effects on your health that can extend beyond your risk of soft tissue sarcoma or other cancers.
Information taken from American Cancer Society.