HER2+ Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Survivorship

After a HER2+ early-stage breast cancer diagnosis, you will need to monitor your health for the rest of your life. To do that, you need a plan. Similar to the way your treatment plan helped you navigate treatment, a survivorship care plan can help you stay healthy as you move forward. Your survivorship care plan should include everything from your medical history and the treatment(s) you had to a follow-up care schedule and more.

Your follow-up care schedule details the need for future appointments, lab work, scans and/or any ongoing maintenance therapy. It may include physical examinations and/or scheduled cancer screenings. These follow-up visits will help monitor for recurrence and check for the development of second cancers, which may be related to past treatments, cancer types, inherited and/or acquired gene mutations and/or lifestyle choices.

You may take hormone therapy and/or targeted therapy for several years after active treatment to prevent a recurrence. Your follow-up appointments will likely be every three to five months and will include routine blood tests and a physical exam. Although it may feel like you’re not being monitored close enough, it is a standard schedule. These visits typically don’t include imaging tests unless you are at a higher risk of recurrence or you have new symptoms. Be sure to let your medical team know immediately if new symptoms arise between visits.

Giving Back and Making a Difference

You may not realize it, but you’ve collected a wealth of information and knowledge that may help others. Here are ways to give back.

Advocacy is all about raising awareness and changing opinions. You can join and/or develop a local or national group designed to bring about change.

Communication is important for sharing your experiences and listening to others’ concerns. Consider signing up to be a phone or email cancer hotline peer-to-peer counselor. Volunteering to lead an in-person or online cancer support group is another option.

Education helps teach others about the specifics of a disease, and you can share your knowledge with others. You can lead discussions at a medical facility, community center and/or place of business about a host of topics, including specific types of cancer, health insurance, caregiving, necessary items (wigs and lotions) and much more. Your knowledge will be greatly appreciated.

Fundraising is important for cancer-related organizations to raise money for research and education. You can organize and/or volunteer at fundraising events, such as races, tournaments, auction events and dinners.

 

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