- Regular follow-up
- Consultation with oncologist at the end of the treatment
At end of irradiation
- The patient should be followed-up at the remitting hospital or possibly at the general practitioner, and preferentially according to the recommendations from the Norwegian Breast Cancer Group.
- The first consultation after ended irradiation is usually after 6 months, earlier if there is indication for adjuvant treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin) or if required. Thereafter mammography and consultation with a physician should take place annually for 10 years.
More frequent follow-ups may be relevant for young patients (below 35 years), patients with locally advanced disease and patients where the cancer developed in relation to pregnancy.
Side effects of irradiation
- Skin reaction in the form of redness, heat, soreness and edema. Some develops more pronounced irradiation dermatitis with desquamation and ulcerations.
- Soreness of the pharynx after irradiation of regional cervical lymph nodes.
- Nausea, most often slight and passing
- Permanent changes of the skin in the form of fibrosis, pigmentations and teleangiectasies.
- Varying degree of fibrosis of the lung
- Deterioration of/persistent lymphedema of the arm on the irradiated side.
- Contractures and reduced mobility of the shoulder on the irradiated side.
- Reduced strength of the skeleton, especially of the ribs/clavicle on the irradiated side
- Slightly enhanced risk for secondary cancer (very small absolute risk)
- Previously enhanced risk for cardiovascular disease. This is not seen with modern radiation techniques.