Is follow-up of colorectal cancer patients worthwhile?

Farouk Safi, Karl H. Link, Hans G. Beger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Between 1978 and 1989, 1,045 of 1,399 patients (580 male and 474 female) underwent curative surgery for colorectal carcinoma. Of these patients, 350 (33 percent) had recurrences, another 16 (1.5 percent) developed a metachronous colorectal cancer, and 23 (2 percent) had cancers of other organs. An isolated locoregional recurrence was found in 75/350 (21 percent). The remaining 275/350 patients (79 percent) showed systemic dissemination of the carcinoma. Reoperations with curative intent were performed on 56/350 patients (16 percent). Only 21 of the 56 resected patients (38 percent), i.e., 21/350 (6 percent), were without recurrence at the end of the follow-up period on December 31, 1990. Despite a curative reoperation, 62 percent of the patients again developed recurrent growths. There is an imbalance between the efforts invested in tumor follow-up and the benefits gained. Further follow-up programs should be investigated in a controlled, prospective fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-642
Number of pages7
JournalDiseases of the Colon & Rectum
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Follow-up
  • Recurrences, diagnosis and treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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