Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Will I know if my cancer is in remission by my neck oncology follow up?"


Will it take several sessions to know? How many follow ups will I need?


I am sorry to hear that you have had to fight against cancer, and wish the best for you. Fortunately, head and neck cancers often can be cured with the currently available therapies and treatment modalities. After the initial treatment, which generally utilizes either surgery or radiation, your doctor will want to follow up with you regularly to see if there have been any changes or any signs that the cancer has returned or was not eliminated in the first treatment cycle.

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These include pain, difficulty swallowing, or new lumps or bumps in any part of your body, but especially your head or neck. Additionally, your surgeon or oncologist will often recommend imaging, utilizing either a CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, or some combination of all of these. This allows for some sort of characterization of what is going on "beneath the surface," and can often indicate the status of the cancer. He or she might have a good idea of whether or not a "cure" has been achieved, but the first 2 years are the most important time for recurrences with most head and neck cancers. If you survive 5 years without a recurrence, then you are, most likely, cancer free. Your doctor will be able to explain this more individually for you, so please speak to him or her.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.