After mouth, head and neck cancer treatment

Older man and woman

What follow-up do I need?

After your cancer treatment has ended you will still need regular check-ups. This is called follow-up. The follow-up may involve having a physical exam, blood tests and scans. The follow-up for head and neck cancers usually entails visits:
• Every 3 months for 2 years
• Every 6 months for another 3 years
• After 5 years – follow-up is decided on an individual basis

Your follow-up is very important for your doctor and dentist to monitor your progress. It’s also a chance for you to ask any questions and to let the doctor know if you have any side-effects that are bothering you or if you are finding it hard to cope. 

If you are between check-ups and have a symptom or problem that is worrying you, contact your doctor or specialist nurse for advice and to make an appointment, if necessary.

If you become suddenly unwell and can’t contact your specialist nurse or hospital team, go to your GP or the emergency department at the hospital.

What if the cancer comes back?

If the cancer comes back in your mouth, head and neck or somewhere else, your doctor will advise you about your treatment options. This may include taking part in a clinical trial.  You might also find it reassuring to have another medical opinion. Your treating doctor or GP can refer you to another specialist for a second opinion if you feel this would be helpful. 

Feelings after treatment

It can take some time to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis, even after your treatment has ended. Read about where to get support

Living a healthy lifestyle 

Many people want to live a healthy lifestyle after getting a cancer diagnosis. However, when you are not feeling well or when you are on treatment there may be limitations on what you can or cannot do. Call our Support Line at 1800 200 700 or speak to one of our cancer nurses in our Daffodil Centres about this and any worry you have. Get some advice on healthy living here.

For more information

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1800 200 700

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