What to Do Post-skin Cancer Treatment

What to Do Post-skin Cancer Treatment Feb 13, 2023 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team

Surviving skin cancer is a massive cause for celebration. But just because you've completed your treatment doesn't mean you can drop all precautions.For some people, skin cancer doesn't completely disappear and may come back after treatment. For these reasons, your doctor will still give you follow-up check-ups to make sure you're in the clear. They might also ask you to do regular self-examinations.If you're a skin cancer survivor, here's what you can expect post-treatment. It's crucial to follow your doctor's orders to enjoy life to the fullest.

Routine Follow-up Examinations

Follow-up treatment for skin cancer includes skin and lymph node examinations by your doctor and yourself. The regularity of these check-ups will depend on the stage of your skin cancer upon diagnosis.For early-stage skin cancer, follow-up tests can be every six to twelve months for the next couple of years. For more severe cases, check-ups can be as often as three to six months for several years. You might also have to undergo CT scans and ultrasounds.Your doctor will ask you to perform monthly self-examinations to check for recurrence. Tell them immediately if you observe any changes in your skin or new lumps. Be mindful of persistent symptoms, too, such as appetite loss, coughing, fatigue, or pain.

Handling Long-term Side Effects

Skin cancer patients expect to experience side effects when undergoing treatment. But they may not know that physical and emotional side effects can persist even after the treatment period. These are long-term side effects, and managing them is part of the healing process.For example, skin cancer survivors who had to undergo surgery can experience late side effects like pain, itchiness, or limited mobility in certain body parts. They may require a caregiver at home who can help them manage these symptoms.Your doctor might also recommend cancer rehabilitation to help with physical, emotional, or mental issues. It can include physical therapy, career counseling, pain management, and emotional counseling.

Managing Personal Medical Records

It's vital to safeguard your medical records. That way, your new doctor can have a complete picture of your history should you switch during your follow-up treatment. They must know every detail of your condition to give you the best care plan. Be sure to get copies of your medical records right after procedures. It's hard to get a hold of them if you leave them unclaimed for years.It's also vital to have health insurance even after skin cancer treatment. Follow-up examinations and procedures are costly, and insurance can significantly lighten the load.

Making Lifestyle Changes

Skin cancer patients usually spend a lot of time outdoors. You can still lead an active lifestyle post-treatment while making your skin’s protection a top priority. Schedule your outdoor activities early in the morning before 10 a.m. or late in the afternoon after 4 p.m. Protect yourself from further skin damage by wearing sunscreen, long-sleeve tops, pants, UV sunglasses, and a cap.Cancer patients should also follow health guidelines to preserve their health and regain their energy. Eat nutritious food, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and manage stress levels.

The Bottom Line

Skin cancer survivors can enjoy a full life post-treatment with the proper care plan. Talk to your doctor and follow through with their recommendations. For more information, contact Complete Family Dermatology at (402) 423-1111. 

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