During and after treatment for lymphoma, the main concerns for most families are the short- and long-term effects of the lymphoma and its treatment, and concerns about the lymphoma coming back.
It is certainly normal to want to put the lymphoma and its treatment behind you and to get back to a life that doesn’t revolve around cancer. But it’s important to realize that follow-up care is a central part of this process that offers your child the best chance for recovery and long-term survival.
It is very important for your child to have regular follow-up exams with the cancer care team for several years after treatment. The doctors will continue to watch for possible signs of lymphoma, as well as for short-term and long-term side effects of treatment. Doctor visits will be more frequent at first, but the time between visits may be extended as time goes on.
Checkups after treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma typically include careful physical exams, lab tests, and sometimes imaging tests such as CT scans. If the lymphoma recurs (comes back), it is usually while the child is still getting treatment or just after. It is unusual for childhood lymphoma to return if there are no signs of the disease within a year or so after treatment.
A benefit of follow-up care is that it gives you a chance to discuss questions and concerns that come up during and after your child’s recovery. For example, almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some might last for only a short time, but others can last longer or might not show up until months or even years later. It is important to report any new symptoms to the doctor right away so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
It is also important to keep health insurance coverage. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of the lymphoma coming back, this could happen.
Last Revised: 01/27/2016