Introduction: follow-up after curative resection for colorectal cancer

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Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of colorectal cancer > Introduction: follow-up after curative resection for colorectal cancer

Background

The debate regarding the rigour and intensity of follow-up investigations is complex.

Patient surveillance following curative resection for colorectal cancer varies from minimal to intensive follow-up. There is no consensus on the definition of these approaches and, therefore, there are many different protocols for minimal and intensive follow-up.

Minimal follow-up may include clinical assessment with or without carcinoembryonic antigen (CEACarcinoembryonic antigen. A protein that may be found in the blood of a person with colorectal cancer.) testing and colonoscopy. Alternatively, minimal follow-up can involve performing investigations only when patients become symptomatic.

Intensive follow-up may include, in addition to clinical assessment and CEACarcinoembryonic antigen. A protein that may be found in the blood of a person with colorectal cancer., computed tomography (CT) and/or positron emission tomography (PET) at regular intervals.

Intensive follow-up after curative resection for colorectal cancer is common practice, but the evidence to date has been limited and non-conclusive.