After completing medical treatment of the tumor, patients enter a phase known as the follow-up period.

The aims of follow-up are:
  • to detect and treat a recurrence of the tumor at an early stage,
  •  to identify, treat and possibly alleviate sequelae of surgery, local ablation and/or concomitant diseases, and
  • to help patients with their physical, mental and social problems.

Follow-up examinations

If the tumor could be removed or destroyed by the treatment, the doctors in the clinic will advise you to return periodically for follow-up examinations.  
Follow-up examinations usually take place every six months and are conducted either by your family doctor or at your chosen hospital.  How often your doctor wants to see you  depends on your individual situation and the course of your disease.

Your doctor will tailor the type and scope of follow-up examinations to your individual situation after considering the degree of tumor progression at the time of diagnosis and the treatment conducted.

Follow-up examinations focus mainly on a conversation with the patient, questions about the course of the disease and the patient’s state of health, and a regular physical examination. It also comprises an ultrasound examination and control of tumor markers.


However, follow-up comprises more than just medical examinations; it also includes aftercare of the patient.  Most people are under high physical and mental stress after cancer treatment.  Aftercare should help them come to terms with the disease and cope with the various problems it involves.

Even before leaving the clinic, you already have the chance to discuss questions or problems with the attending physician or other specialists.  Do not hesitate to do so!  Apart from the actual therapy, the tasks of an attending physician include being there for patients and helping them solve problems.  Most hospitals also have a team of social workers that can provide you with care services and social support and can put you in contact with the appropriate institutions.  Psychological consultation services are also available at many hospitals.

Some patients also find it helpful to seek support at a counseling center for a certain period of time.  Many cities and communities have psychosocial counseling centers.  They offer cancer patients and their relatives information and advice on matters concerning aftercare, convalescence facilities, and retirement.  Contact with other people affected by the disease – for example, in a support group – can be a great help, since they have first-hand experience with the problems and can provide advice and assistance.


In some cases, rehabilitation is recommended after discharge from the hospital in order to speed up the convalescence and recovery process. There are specialized rehabilitation facilities where you can regain your strength and where the staff will deal specifically with your individual situation. They will also help you cope with psychological or social problems.


Center of Interventional Hepatobiliary Medicine
Prof. Dr. med. Hans Scherübl
Vivantes Klinikum Am Urban
Academic Teaching Hospital of Charité, Berlin

Dieffenbachstraße 1
10967 Berlin
Tel: + 49 30 130 225201
Fax: + 49 30 130 225205
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