Some find going back to the breast clinic for appointments difficult as it can bring back feelings of anxiety, and for others the follow-up visits can be reassuring. Attending follow-up visits is all part of looking after yourself once treatment stops.
Mammograms should restart after treatment on a yearly basis for at least 10 years and longer for younger women. Mammograms can be ordered by your GP or your specialist. After five years, women aged 45-69 can return to the Breastscreen Aotearoa screening programme for their alternate year mammograms. The Government has announced this upper limit will increase, from 69 to 74 years of age.
Even if you have undergone a mastectomy, your other breast still needs a yearly mammogram. Mark on your calendar which month your yearly mammogram is due. If you have not received an appointment for a mammogram by the end of that month contact your GP or specialist.
Blood tests to monitor tumour markers, regular CT scans, etc are not generally useful for monitoring patients with no symptoms and don’t form part of standard follow-up for breast cancer.