Background: The possible benefit for patients of follow-up examinations after curative surgery for colorectal cancer is at present not proven. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of follow-up examinations on health-related quality of life and to assess the attitude of the patients to check-ups.
Methods: A total of 350 patients who had had curative surgery for colorectal cancer and who had been subsequently randomized to either frequent follow-up or virtually no follow-up completed the Nottingham Health Profile and a second questionnaire assessing their attitude to the follow-up visits.
Results: The patients who were receiving more frequent follow-up had greater confidence in the check-ups, but the improvement in the health-related quality of life was only marginally better than that of those receiving few follow-up visits.
Conclusion: The relatively small benefit for health-related quality of life does not justify expensive frequent routine examinations after surgery for colorectal cancer. The Nottingham Health Profile proved to be a reliable instrument within this patient group.