Follow-up after treatment for vaginal cancer
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for vaginal cancer is often shared among the cancer specialists (oncologists, surgeon) and your family doctor. Your healthcare team will work with you to decide on follow-up care to meet your needs.
Don’t wait until your next scheduled appointment to report any new symptoms and symptoms that don’t go away. Tell your healthcare team if you have:
- pain or an increase in pain in the pelvis, back or legs
- bleeding from the vagina that is different from your normal menstrual period
- vaginal bleeding if you have reached menopause
- new changes in bladder or bowel habits
- swelling in the legs
The chance that vaginal cancer will come back (recur) is greatest within 2 years, so close follow-up is needed during this time.
Schedule for follow-up visits
Follow-up visits for vaginal cancer are usually scheduled every 3–6 months for the first 5 years after initial treatment.
During follow-up visits
During a follow-up visit, your healthcare team will usually ask questions about the side effects of treatment and how you’re coping.
Your doctor may do a physical exam, including:
- pelvic examination and rectal examination
- Pap test – even if surgery has been done
- feeling the lymph nodes in the pelvis and groin
Tests are often part of follow-up care. You may have:
If the cancer has come back, you and your healthcare team will discuss a plan for your treatment and care.
Questions to ask about follow-up
To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about follow-up.