© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
After treatment for breast cancer, follow-up care is important to help maintain good health, which includes managing any side effects from treatment and watching for long-term side effects (called late effects) or signs of a cancer recurrence (cancer that comes back after treatment). A follow-up care plan may include regular physical examinations and other medical tests to monitor your recovery for the coming months and years. To help keep track of the cancer treatment you received and work with your doctor to develop a survivorship care plan, ASCO offers cancer treatment summary forms.
Many survivors feel worried or anxious that the cancer will come back after treatment. While it often does not, it’s important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. Most breast cancer recurrences are found by patients between doctor visits. Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms, as they may be signs of a cancer recurrence:
- New lumps in the breast
- Bone pain
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Persistent headaches
- Persistent coughing
- Rash on breast
- Nipple discharge (liquid coming from the nipple)