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Since the effects of your cancer and your therapy may linger or reappear years after your last treatment, it’s important for your current doctors to know what you’ve been through. Armed with information about your cancer and treatment, your “regular” doctor can monitor any late effects, work together with you to develop healthy habits, and help you with referrals to specialists.
Your primary care doctor may ask you about your leukemia when she asks for your medical history. But don’t just check the box that says “cancer” on the forms you fill out in the waiting room. The more information you can give to your doctors, the better.
At the very least, you should let them know:
If you know more detailed information about your treatment, you might want to share:
Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins for your leukemia, your two-page summary of treatment will be an excellent resource for answering all these questions.
Like every other patient your doctor sees, you’re probably getting advice on how to eat healthy, get more exercise and maybe quit smoking. But you’re not like every other patient, and you may experience health concerns in these areas that are related to your leukemia.
For instance, smoking could be a critical problem for patients with lungs damaged by their cancer therapy. Hormonal imbalances from chemotherapy can make some survivors more prone to obesity. Survivors may also experience higher rates of depression after their treatment It’s important for your doctor to know about these issues, since it may help her plan a treatment program with you that is different from the “usual” treatment.
If your doctor does want more information on late effects in survivors, you can point them toward the regularly updated guidelines from the Children’s Oncology Group.