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Follow-Up Care

Some long-term side effects from the initial treatment plan can develop later. For these reasons, follow-up evaluations will need to occur.

For example, if radiation therapy was administered to the neck region, then there is an increased likelihood of developing impaired functioning. For example, 25 percent of patients who were administered surgery and radiation therapy combinations developed hypothyroidism post-treatment. For this reason, every six to 12 months, you will need to undergo tests to evaluate the thyroid gland. You can work with your health care professionals to obtain advice as to how frequently you should have follow-up evaluations to confirm that you are not experiencing long term-side effects.

You should take steps to decrease the likelihood of developing cancer again. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are known risk factors for various types of head and neck cancer. If you need help with the cessation of these behaviors, you may want to seek counseling.

Finally, if you have not yet returned to work, you can begin to take steps to resume your job as you feel able to do so.

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Follow the doctor’s orders to the letter.Gordon O. (laryngeal cancer survivor)