Follow-up care and the risk of recurrence – Margaret


Margaret was uncomfortable about being discharged from care; her cancer had not been detected through imaging and she was worried about it coming back undetected.


But one of the things that still bothers me, once they discharge you from the cancer hospital care there’s not a lot of support out there I find.

Interviewer: What kind of support do you feel you needed at that point when you were discharged?

When I finished my medication that I was on, I thought “Oh! Now what?” It’s quite a loss, a feeling of loss, when you all of a sudden stop this one medication which is probably going to increase your chance of survival by, not 100% that’s for sure, but it does increase it. But then you have no protection, you’re not getting any treatment, things like that. I found that that was quite hard for a while until I thought “Oh well, whatever that’s how it is.”

Interviewer: But it just kind of stops and then there’s?

It just stops. Bang! I found that that was hard.

Interviewer: So there’s no follow-up with your physician after that?

I was fortunate that I had a really good physician. Because my breast cancer was never found through mammograms and ultrasounds, and that even the MRI* (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and things like that didn’t really show it, which I had forgot to mention that I had had an MRI.

But it was through my own breast exam that I found it and so she agreed to, for me, to have breast exams every 3 or 4 months and so that was good. It’s just, I sometimes would like to have someone to talk to a little bit about now, what now? At what point do you ask if you can have a bone scan or CT scan* (Computerized Axial Tomography Scan), and is this kind of stuff normal, or is it necessary, or is it more like a paranoia thing?

Interviewer: So that kind of checking in every once in a while…What’s your normal pattern now? Do you go back to your family physician when you want to?

Yeah I still go every 3 or 4 times during the year to have a mammogram and then I do go to the cancer hospital and have an ultrasound and a mammogram too, once per year. That’s it. There’s some people that I know, and I wish I was one of them, they are on a study and so they see a doctor every 3 months. They have blood tests and have different tests and things like that and I’d like to be one of them.

Interviewer: What would be different for you if you were one of them?

I think then you just have a little bit more reassurance that nothing is creeping up, getting too involved in your body I guess…

*MRI: Imaging test that creates a 3-dimensional picture of the body’s internal structures using magnetic force and radio frequencies.
*CT scan: Body scan that produces cross section images of the body’s internal structures.

More from: