The role of surveillance colonoscopy after curative resection for colorectal cancer
Patients who have surgery for colorectal cancer (CRC) are at above-average risk for the development of a second, metachronous CRC (and adenomatous polyps). After surgery for CRC, the aim of patient follow-up is to improve survival by the early detection and treatment of recurrent or metachronous neoplasia. To increase the chance of early recognition of such disease, intensive post-operative follow-up is recommended. This involves a combination of clinical review, blood tests for the tumour marker carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), colonoscopy, radiological imaging and/or abdominal ultrasound at regular intervals after resection (see Follow-up after curative resection for colorectal cancer in Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of colorectal cancer).
This section of the guidelines reviews the available evidence, so that such patients can be advised about an appropriate interval for post-operative and subsequent surveillance colonoscopies.