You have regular appointments with your doctor or nurse after treatment finishes. This is called follow up.
Why you have follow up appointments
You usually have follow up appointments to check how you are and see whether you have any problems or worries. The appointments also give you the chance to raise any concerns you have about your progress.
How often you have follow up
How often you have follow up depends on:
- your brain tumour type
- the treatment you have had
- your side effects
- whether you have a low grade (slow growing) or a high grade (fast growing) tumour
At first, it's likely that you will see your doctor every few weeks. The appointments gradually become less frequent if you don't have any problems.
Your doctor or nurse may examine you at each appointment. They ask how you are feeling, whether you have had any symptoms or side effects, and if you are worried about anything.
You might also have tests at some visits. The tests may include:
- blood tests
- MRI scans
You usually have regular MRI scans after your treatment finishes. MRI scans can help to find whether the brain tumour has come back or started to grow again. How often you have MRI scans depend on your individual situation.
For example, for a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) you usually have an MRI scan every 3 to 6 months, for two years. You then have an MRI scan every 6 months or every year.
Where you have your follow up appointments
You might have your check ups at the surgical outpatients' clinic if you have had brain surgery. You go to the cancer clinic if you have had chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The surgeon and the oncologist might share your follow up. This means that you see the surgeon sometimes and the oncologist at other times.
Contact your doctor or specialist nurse if you have any concerns between appointments. You should also contact them if you notice any new symptoms. You don’t have to wait until your next visit.
Many people find their check ups quite worrying. A hospital appointment can bring back any anxiety you had about your cancer.
It can help to tell someone close to you how you’re feeling. Sharing your worries can mean they don’t seem so overwhelming. Many people find it helpful to have counselling during or after cancer treatment.
You can also find people to share experiences with by using our online forum, CancerChat.
It is normal to worry about your health when your treatment is over. You might have had close contact with your treatment team for a long time. Less frequent appointments can make you feel like you are on your own.
Some people worry more as their next appointment approaches. It can bring back any anxiety you have had about your brain tumour.
It can help to tell someone close to you how you’re feeling. Sharing your worries can mean they don’t seem so overwhelming.