Healthy Living

Living as a Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Survivor: The Importance of Follow-up Care

Living in NHL remission

Of course, the goal with any cancer treatment program is remission. But even when remission is achieved, there is a risk of recurrence, especially for patients with indolent NHL. And, unfortunately recurrence isn’t limited to another fight against NHL. Second cancer can occur. This is different from recurrence because it is a new, unrelated cancer. Just like recurrence, it’s important to not feel personally at fault for second cancer. There’s certainly lifestyle actions you can take to reduce your risk, such as refraining from smoking tobacco products and living an active lifestyle, but sometimes cancer does return despite the patient having done everything “right.”

At the start of your cancer journey, it’s a good idea to speak to your physician about “what next,” or a survivorship care plan. This can make the next steps after treatment seem less overwhelming. And, a planned schedule for things like follow up appointments will make you more likely to stick with your follow up care, therefore improving your long-term outcomes. Be sure things like screenings are scheduled for the future. Actively monitoring your body’s cancer status is the best way to prevent a dangerous recurrence. If anything does seem off or an abnormality appears in a scan or during a follow up appointment, the best course of action is always to work on remediating the problem as early as possible.