Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for rhabdomyosarcoma is often shared among doctors and healthcare professionals, including audiologists, dentists, eye doctors, nurses and psychologists. Your child’s healthcare team will work with you to decide on follow-up care to meet your child’s needs.
Some centres have aftercare clinics that specialize in follow-up for survivors of childhood cancer. Long-term follow-up is important for children because there is a chance that cancer can come back, or recur, and late side effects from treatment can develop. People who have a childhood cancer are often followed in aftercare programs for life. The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) provides long-term follow-up guidelines for childhood cancer survivors.
Some centres across Canada have transition clinics set up to follow the survivors of childhood cancer. Transition clinics help to prepare the survivor who is reaching early adulthood to successfully transition to the world of adult healthcare.
Don’t wait until your child’s next scheduled appointment to report any new symptoms and symptoms that don’t go away. Tell the healthcare team if your child has:
The chance of rhabdomyosarcoma recurring is greatest within 3 years, so close follow-up is needed during this time.
Follow-up visits for rhabdomyosarcoma are usually scheduled:
During a follow-up visit, your healthcare team will usually ask questions about the side effects of treatment and how your child is coping. They will also check for signs that your child is growing and developing normally.
The doctor may do a physical exam, including:
Tests are often part of follow-up care. Your child may have:
If a recurrence or other problems are found, the healthcare team will assess your child to determine the best treatment options. Some children may be referred to an endocrinologist if there are any problems with their sexual development.
Find out more about the Children’s Oncology Group long-term follow-up guidelines. To make the decisions that are right for your child, ask your healthcare team questions about follow-up.
The Canadian Cancer Society is actively lobbying the federal government to establish a national caregivers strategy to ensure there is more financial support for this important group of people.