, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 38-46
Date: 07 Feb 2008

Breast cancer follow-up in the adjuvant setting

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Breast cancer may recur through 15 years and beyond after diagnosis; thus, breast cancer patients require long-term follow-up after adjuvant treatment to detect recurrent disease. History taking, physical examination, and regular mammography are still the foundation of appropriate breast cancer follow-up in the adjuvant setting. Clearly, breast MRI has a role in certain high-risk patients, but in moderate-risk patients, the decision to use MRI must be based on the complexity of the clinical scenario. Other routine imaging studies (CT, positron emission tomography, and bone scans) and laboratory testing—including tumor marker assessments—in asymptomatic patients have not demonstrated an improvement in survival, quality of life, toxicity, or cost-effectiveness. Survivorship issues are also an inherent part of breast cancer follow-up; physicians should make every effort to address supportive care issues unique to breast cancer survivors including hot flashes, bone health, neuropathy, and risk-reduction strategies.