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Recurrent Cancer: Steps for Early Detection

For many cancer survivors, the thought of a possible recurrence can weigh heavily on the mind after completing treatment. Although the risk of recurrence is different for each person and depends on many factors, the steps below are some actions survivors can take to improve their chances of detecting a recurrence early and increasing their chances of survival.

Ask your doctor: If you are worried about recurrence, it’s important to ask your doctor about the realistic chances of your cancer coming back. Be sure to ask when and where it would be most likely to come back and request recurrence statistics for your specific type of disease.

Know the symptoms: Many of the symptoms associated with recurrent cancer are similar to the symptoms experienced the first time. If you notice the return of cancer symptoms you had before or any new or unusual pain that does not go away, see your doctor immediately. 

Routine screenings: If you are at high risk for a cancer recurrence, it’s important to maintain a routine schedule of check-ups with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend annual screenings or CT scans to periodically check for signs or evidence of cancer regrowth.

Visit the American Cancer Society website here to learn more about recurrent cancer or to access resources for cancer survivors.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.