The optimal follow-up strategy for colorectal cancer is unknown.
In this study, researchers assessed all Canadian radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and surgeons specializing in colorectal cancer.
They studied their recommendations for follow-up after potentially curative treatment.
Additionally, they reviewed their beliefs and attitudes regarding these practices, and the cost implications of different follow-up strategies.
|90% recommended surveillance colonoscopy in the first year.|
|Annals of Oncology|
Overall, 160 practitioners returned completed surveys.
The majority recommended clinical assessments every 3 to 4 months in the first 2 years, gradually decreasing frequency over 5 years.
The research team found that 90% recommended surveillance colonoscopy in the first year.
In addition, the majority felt that involvement in follow-up was important because of opportunities for patients to contribute to research (76%) and teaching (73%).
Approximately half thought that specialists were more efficient at providing follow-up than primary care physicians. However, the same physicians tended to recommend significantly longer and more expensive follow-up routines.
Primary care physicians were felt to be important allies, especially in managing the psychosocial concerns of patients.
Dr Earle’s team concluded, “Surveillance practices are generally in keeping with published recommendations”.
“Most specialists feel that they should remain involved in follow-up, but this may result in increased resource utilization.”