Breast Care Follow Up – Breast Cancer

  • Reference Number: HEY-368/2015
  • Departments: Breast Care, Oncology (Cancer Services)

This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

Introduction

This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your follow-up treatment.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion.  If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss them with a member of the breast care team who has been caring for you.

What is Breast Care follow up?

More and more people are surviving breast cancer. Following your breast cancer treatment, the breast care follow up aims to address any issues you may have which may be affecting your quality of life. These issues can include physical, emotional, spiritual and financial concerns.

What type of Breast Care follow up appointments do I need?

Medical research has shown that traditional follow up for breast cancer, with regular physical examination, fails to address the wider needs of many patients. Patients will need to have follow up mammograms (Breast X-rays) for several years and some will need clinic appointments to discuss ongoing treatment. However, most will not need regular clinic appointments. As such, your breast care follow up will be individually tailored to meet your needs effectively.

How will my follow up be planned?

The Breast Care Nurse will meet with you at a planned clinic visit and discuss your individual needs. Together you will agree a plan for your follow up; this can include dates to return for mammograms and clinic appointments with the specialist. It may also include referrals to other services or further consultations with the Breast Care Nurse. You and your GP will both be sent a copy of your follow up plan within a few days of your meeting with the Breast Care Nurse.

Do I need to report any symptoms?

If you have any symptoms that worry you or new issues arise, you should contact your Breast Care Nurse for advice.

Symptoms which you should report are detailed below:

  •  New lumps in the breast or armpit
  • New thickening in the breast scar
  •  Indrawing, bleeding or a rash of the nipple
  •  A new pain over a bone which keeps you awake at night and is not relieved by painkillers, especially in the back, ribs or hip.
  •  Breathlessness or difficulty breathing
  •  Persistent cough
  •  Severe or prolonged headache, double vision or limb weakness, pins and needles in arms or legs
  •  Weight loss not explained by dieting
  •  Abdominal pain, swelling or jaundice (yellow colouring of the skin), loss of control of bladder or bowel
  •  Persistent nausea

Remember there are many causes for these symptoms and they are not necessarily associated with breast cancer

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Macmillan Breast Care Nurses on telephone number (01482) 622013

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.