What to Expect After Treatment is Completed?
Once you have made it through treatment, you need to have close follow-up with your doctor. This follow-up plan is recommended after being treated for an oral cancer:
- Visit your head and neck specialist on a regular schedule (or earlier if you have any concerning symptoms). This allows your doctor to examine you for any signs that the cancer has come back.
- For the first year, you should go every one to three months.
- For the second year, you should go every two to six months.
- For the third to fifth year, you should go every four to eight months.
- After five years, you can start going every year.
- Your doctor may request imaging. If something suspicious comes up, you might need another biopsy.
- Check your thyroid function every six to twelve months if you have had radiation to the neck area.
- Get help with a therapist as needed for difficulties with speaking, hearing and swallowing.
- See a specialist about appropriate nutrition and diet
- Alert your doctor if you experience any signs of depression.
- Stop smoking and stop drinking; counselling may help.
- See a dentist.
*This section is supported by the following sources:
Cohen, E. E., LaMonte, S. J., Erb, N. L., Beckman, K. L., Sadeghi, N. , Hutcheson, K. A., Stubblefield, M. D., Abbott, D. M., Fisher, P. S., Stein, K. D., Lyman, G. H. and Pratt‐Chapman, M. L. (2016), American Cancer Society Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Care Guideline. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 66: 203-239. doi:10.3322/caac.21343