The article by Virgo et al1 in this issue of JAMA examines the question, "What is appropriate follow-up for colorectal cancer patients treated with an intent to cure?" The authors approach this topic by summarizing 11 different strategies and then dealing with financial aspects of proposed follow-up testing recommendations. While such financial considerations are important, there are other important factors to be considered in determining appropriate follow-up practices, these primarily being quantity and quality of life.
See also p 1837.
There are few data regarding the influence of follow-up strategies on the quality of life of cancer survivors. While some will argue that patients feel reassured when test results are normal and that frequent testing will improve their quality of life, there are many patients whose quality of life is negatively affected for days to weeks in anticipation of upcoming testing procedures, during subsequent procedures performed because of false-positive
Loprinzi CL. Follow-up Testing for Curatively Treated Cancer SurvivorsWhat to Do?. JAMA. 1995;273(23):1877-1878. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520470085038