Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Value of outpatient follow-up after curative surgery for carcinoma of the large bowel.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 01 March 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:593
  1. J P Cochrane,
  2. J T Williams,
  3. R G Faber,
  4. W W Slack


    The records were reviewed of 406 patients with carcinoma of the large bowel who had been treated at the Middlesex Hospital during 1958-62. Of these patients, 180 were followed up regularly in this hospital after radical surgery, and from six months to 15 years after operation they were seen 2319 times; 71 developed a recurrent carcinoma but, of these, 41 recurrences (58%) were diagnosed at times other than those of the patients' routine outpatient appointments, although they were being regularly reviewed. Only one patient with recurrence appeared to have been cured by further surgery. For the present, adequate education of patients in the symptoms of early recurrence, with instruction to return if any of these develop, is likely to be more effective than the unsatisfactory and time-consuming routine follow-up still used in many hospitals.