The importance of follow-up care
The patient in this case study wasn’t aware that she had NL prior to going to see her physician. Most people don’t, given the very low prevalence of the condition and the varying symptoms patients present with. It can be difficult to diagnose even when a patient seeks medical advice, but it definitely won’t be diagnosed without taking that effort.
For reasons such as this, it’s extremely important for cancer survivors to continue to see their physicians regularly for follow up care, even if he or she has been in remission for quite a while. Even if the diagnosis at follow up is nowhere as serious as NL, cancer survivors, especially those who initially had lymphoma, are at a higher rate than survivors of some other types of cancers for developing second cancers. Unlike cancer relapse, in which the original form of cancer returns, second cancer is the occurrence of a new type of cancer. The best line of defense against negative outcomes from the development of second cancer, or any harmful condition, is early detection, so be sure to stay on top of follow up appointments.
On the same note, cancer survivors should make sure to keep their health insurance policies active even in remission so that there’s no major financial barriers to receiving follow up care. Even routine appointments can be pricey without insurance. Also, make sure you have copies of your medical records. In the future, the physician that treated lymphoma may not be able to fill a new doctor in on your history with the disease. And, in the case of a condition such as NL, the physician knowing your past with lymphoma could make all the difference in a life-saving diagnosis.