Tag Archives: surveillance

Half of Colorectal Cancer Survivors Not Getting Recommended Colonoscopies

Despite guidelines calling for a colonoscopy a year after surgery for colon or rectal cancer, less than half of patients have had one 14 months after colorectal surgery intended to cure their cancer. A study of stage I, II, and III colorectal cancer patients in the United States found that only 49 percent had received the recommended colonoscopy. Currently follow-up guidelines call for a surveillance colonoscopy to look for local cancer recurrence or new polyps or cancers a year after surgery.  If that exam is normal, another colonoscopy is called for three years later and then every five years. 

Early Stage Patients Benefit from Regular Follow-Up

Patients with very early stage colon cancer benefit as much from regular followup testing after surgery as later stage patients do. While overall patients with stage I or IIA colon cancer (early stage) have a lower risk of cancer returning than patients with stage IIB or III (later stage), careful surveillance after surgery is as effective in finding and treating cancer in both groups. About one in three patients in both the early and late stage who had a recurrence detected during surveillance were able to have surgery with the goal of curing their cancer.