Cancer Support Services

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Home Care and Follow-up Care

Home-based care

Cancer care doesn't stop when patients leave UMMC. Our team is dedicated to caring for patients before, during, and after treatment and can provide connections to any needed home-based services. These services may include:

  • At-home nurses to supervise medical services and medications.
  • Home health aids to assist with personal care.
  • Physical or occupational therapists to help with movement and getting back to regular home routines.
  • Speech therapists to work on communication methods.

Most home care agencies are covered under Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance policies, and we can help find in-network organizations to ease the cost for patients and families. Social workers at the UMMC Cancer Institute can help coordinate services and will make recommendations based on a patient’s needs and home situation.

Follow-up care

After treatments are completed, care and monitoring will continue to see if the cancer is gone. The frequency of follow-up appointments depends on the type of cancer and how advanced it was. Most patients in remission tend to see their physician every three to six months, and the longer the body is free of cancer, the less frequent the appointments become. After five years of being cancer free, most patients will go in for a checkup only once a year.

During follow-up appointments, the doctor will ask about any lingering side effects and check to see if the cancer has come back. Some drugs and radiation may increase the risk of a later cancer, and our care teams will discuss potential risks factors and potential long-term side effects throughout treatment and post-treatment care.

Side effects, no matter how small, are important to discuss with your physician or nurse.

Side effects of treatment may include:

  • Unexplainable pain
  • New symptoms not present before treatment
  • Problems interfering with daily living, such as fatigue, fuzzy memory, weight gain or loss, or sleeping issues
  • Changes in family medical history
  • Emotional changes or mood swings
  • Any new medications or treatments

The chance that cancer will return is different for each person and each type of cancer. When cancer does recur, it can be near or in the same place it started or in another part of the body.

If cancer returns, our doctors will evaluate and provide a treatment plan. Many of the same therapies may be used, or new treatments may be used, depending on where and when the cancer recurred. Some cancers go through cycles of recurrence and remission.

If there are any changes in your health or medical condition, please contact your care team as quickly as possible.