Dear japdip: Follow up recommendations after treatment for breast cancer depends on several factors including risk for recurrence as well as the protocol of the doctors/health care facility. It is not unusual for a person to follow up with a breast specialist for a very long period of time (years) though perhaps less frequently over time, whether that be a surgeon or a medical oncologist. Whatever follow up you have should include clinical breast examinations and not just mammograms.
Speaking as a surgeon, I'd say it's very individual, with no general guideline. In my practice there were many breast cancer patients who wanted to see me every year, forever, because they thought I did a more thorough breast exam than any of their other docs. I left it up to the woman. I liked to see them at least for the first two years, often on a six-month basis, because most recurrances happen in the first two years. I left if up to them. As long as they were getting regular mammograms and checkups somewhere, I didn't insist on seeing them, but always offered to do so as long as they wanted.
I would like to ask if the cancer is more likely to come back in the first 2 years after surgery chemo and radiation what are these for then? It takes approx 9 months to complete this treatment thanks
If you have a recurrence of the same cancer does it matter when you catch it? I read somewhere that if it recurrs it comes in usually your lungs, liver, or brain. Also, that they can't cure it, just prolong your life. This is SO scary! Is it better just to live your life and not get all these check ups because there is nothing that can be done for you anyway if you have a recurrance from the same original tumor? It is something I think about often. Also, how do you determine how long you are a survivor? My bilateral mastectomy was in Oct. 2003 but chemo was not complete until April 2, 2004. So, am I almost a 2 year survivor or just a 1 year and 3 month survivor? My oncologist said all cancer was removed with my surgery and chemo was a preventitive. I get so confused with all this info. Plus I am just 40 years old, I want to live a long time. My surgeon just wants to see me once a year. He is very encouraging, tells me there is less than a 10% chance mine will recur. Any feedback appreciated. Thanks!