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Recommendations for follow-up of women with early breast cancer

Background

Early breast cancer is defined as tumours of not more than five centimetres diameter, with either impalpable or palpable but not fixed lymph nodes and with no evidence of distant metastases.1

The clinical care of women with early breast cancer may involve surgery, radiotherapy, systemic therapy and supportive care.1 Following completion of active treatment, follow-up is required.

The purpose of follow-up care includes:

  • the early detection of local, regional or distant recurrence
  • screening for a new primary breast cancer
  • detection and management of treatment-related side effects
  • detection and management of psychosocial distress, anxiety or depression
  • review and updating of family history
  • observation of outcomes of therapy
  • review of treatment, including new therapies which may be potentially relevant to the patient.

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