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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.
I’m extremely grateful to the Canadian Cancer Society for funding my research with an Innovation Grant.
How can you stop cancer before it starts?
Discover how 16 factors affect your cancer risk and how you can take action with our interactive tool – It’s My Life! Presented in partnership with Desjardins.