Follow-up after breast cancer


Women who have been diagnosed and treated for early breast cancer have an increased risk of breast cancer coming back or developing in the other breast. Regular follow-up checks ensure that if breast cancer comes back or if a new breast cancer develops, it can be treated promptly.  

Follow-up after treatment for breast cancer involves regular physical examinations, and a mammogram or an ultrasound (done before your follow-up appointment, so you can discuss the results at the appointment). If these show an abnormal area, you might need further imaging tests and a biopsy. 

You won’t need routine chest X-rays, bone scans or blood tests unless you have symptoms that suggest that cancer has spread. 

If you’re involved in a clinical trial, you might have additional tests.  

During your follow-up check, your doctor will also: 

  • monitor and side effects of treatment and help you manage them 
  • monitor long-term treatments like hormonal therapies 
  • provide practical and emotional support. 

Your follow-up schedule will be planned based on your individual circumstances. In general, the recommended timing is: 

  • 1 to 2 years after treatment: every 3 to 6 months 
  • 3 to 5 years after treatment: every 6 to 12 months 
  • more than 5 years after treatment: every year. 

If you notice a breast change or any other symptoms that concern you between follow-up appointments, don’t wait until your next appointment. See your GP or specialist as soon as possible.