Follow-up care will be determined by the type of treatment you received and your personal preferences. Follow-up care may be provided by your breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, plastic surgeon and/or your primary-care doctor.
It is important to keep a regular check-up schedule and share details about your status with your treating doctors, even years after treatment is completed. The recommended follow-up schedule for patients with breast cancer is the following:
If you have had breast-conserving surgery, you should have mammograms once a year, with the first mammogram typically scheduled one year from the most recent mammogram that preceded your diagnosis.
Regardless of the type of surgery, you should have a clinical breast exam at least every six months for five years, then yearly.
Any additional imaging recommendations, including a breast MRI and/or breast ultrasound, will be discussed with you if necessary.
The purpose of follow-up care is to monitor and manage any late, long-term effects of treatment and to check for any signs that the cancer may have returned. During these visits, your healthcare provider should conduct a comprehensive clinical breast exam to inspect your lymph nodes and look for any changes in normal breast appearance.
Your doctor will also ask about any symptoms you may be experiencing.
Women taking tamoxifen should have yearly pelvic exams.
Patients being treated with an aromatase inhibitor should have a bone density test before, during and after treatment, as recommended by their doctors.