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Follow-up after treatment for mesothelioma
Mesothelioma behaves differently in each person, and a standard follow-up schedule would not work for everyone. People with mesothelioma should talk to their doctor about a follow-up plan that suits their individual situation. Follow-up care is often shared among the cancer specialists (oncologists) and the family doctor.
After treatment has ended, new symptoms and symptoms that don’t go away should be reported to the doctor without waiting for the next scheduled appointment. These may include:
- increased shortness of breath or coughing
- increase in the size of the abdomen
- increasing pain
Follow-up after mesothelioma treatment varies because there is no standard guideline. Follow-up visits are tailored to the individual and their treatment. Regular follow-up is done if the person had surgery to treat mesothelioma.
During a follow-up visit, the doctor usually asks questions about the side effects of treatment, how the person is coping and symptoms the person may be having. The doctor may do a complete physical examination, including:
- listening to the chest
- feeling the abdomen
Tests may be ordered as part of follow-up or if the doctor suspects the cancer has come back (has recurred).
- A computed tomography (CT) scan is done to see how well treatments are working to shrink or slow the growth of mesothelioma. A CT scan may also be done to check for a recurrence after treatment.
- Other imaging tests, such as a chest or abdominal x-ray, may be done if the person has new symptoms.
If a recurrence is found during follow-up, the oncology team will assess the person with cancer to determine the best treatment options.