© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
ASCO recommends the schedule of tests and procedures listed below after treatment for breast cancer. About a year after diagnosis, you may continue to visit your oncologist or transfer your care to a primary care doctor. Women receiving hormonal therapy should talk with their oncologist about how often to schedule follow-up visits for re-evaluation of their treatment.
Medical history and physical examination. Visit your doctor every three to six months for the first three years after the first treatment, every six to 12 months for years four and five, and every year thereafter.
Post-treatment mammography. Schedule a mammogram one year after the first mammogram that led to your diagnosis. However, if you have had radiation therapy, wait six months after your last treatment. Obtain a mammogram every six to 12 months thereafter.
Breast self-examination. Perform a breast self-examination every month. This procedure is not a substitute for a mammogram.
Pelvic examination. Continue to visit a gynecologist regularly. Because the drug tamoxifen (Nolvadex) increases the risk of uterine cancer, women taking this drug should tell their doctors about any abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Genetic counseling. Another important part of follow-up care is to tell your doctor if you have a history of cancer in your family because you may benefit from genetic counseling. The following risk factors may indicate that breast cancer could run in the family:
- Ashkenazi Jewish heritage
- Personal or family history of ovarian cancer
- Any first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50
- Two or more first-degree or second-degree relatives (grandparent, aunt, uncle) diagnosed with breast cancer
- Personal or family history of breast cancer in both breasts
- History of breast cancer in a male relative
The following tests are not currently recommended by ASCO for regular follow-up care because they have not been shown to lengthen the life of a person with breast cancer. Learn more about why these tests may not be recommended.
- A complete blood count (CBC) test and liver and kidney function tests
- Chest x-ray
- Bone scan
- Liver ultrasound
- Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan
- Fluorodeoxyglucose-positron-emission tomography (FDG-PET) scan
- Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test
- Breast cancer tumor markers, such as CA 15-3, CA 27.29, and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA).