Background: The postoperative surveillance of patients who have undergone curative treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC) is controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the follow-up practice of colorectal surgeons in the United States. Methods: A postal survey was sent to 1641 active members of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons practicing in the United States to assess the frequency of follow-up and the methods used in the surveillance of asymptomatic patients following curative surgery for CRC. Results: Only 582 (36%) of the questionnaires that were sent were returned fully completed. Of these, 173 surgeons (30%) followed their patients according to guidelines. Ninety-four percent of surgeons during the first year and 81% during the second year saw their patients regularly every 3 or 6 months. The most widely used tests were colonoscopy and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) testing. There was wide discrepancy in the frequency of follow-up and techniques employed, with only about 50% of surgeons following recommended practice. Conclusions: Surveillance strategies mainly rely on clinical examination, CEA monitoring and colonoscopy. No clear consensus on surveillance programs for CRC patients exists.
- Colorectal cancer
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