A retrospective study on the use of post-operative colonoscopy following potentially curative surgery for colorectal cancer in a Canadian province

BMC Cancer. 2004 Apr 19;4:14. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-4-14.


Background: Surveillance colonoscopy is commonly recommended following potentially curative surgery for colorectal cancer. We determined factors associated with patients undergoing a least one colonoscopy within five years of surgery.

Methods: In this historical cohort study, data on 3918 patients age 30 years or older residing in Alberta, Canada, who had undergone a potentially curative surgical resection for local or regional stage colorectal cancer between 1983 and 1995 were obtained from the provincial cancer registry, ministry of health and cancer clinic charts. Kaplan-Meier estimates of the probability of undergoing a post-operative colonoscopy were calculated for patient, tumor and treatment-related variables of interest.

Results: A colonoscopy was performed within five years of surgery in 1979 patients. The probability of undergoing a colonoscopy for those diagnosed in the 1990s was greater than for those diagnosed earlier (0.65 vs 0.55, P < 0.0001). The majority of the difference was seen at one-year following surgery, consistent with changes in surveillance practices. Those most likely to undergo a colonoscopy were those under age 70 (0.74 vs 0.50 for those age 70-79, P < 0.0001), who underwent a pre-operative colonoscopy (0.69 vs 0.54, P < 0.0001), and who underwent a resection with reanastomosis (0.62 vs 0.47 for abdominoperineal resection, P < 0.0001) by a surgeon who performs colonoscopies (0.68 vs 0.54, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: The majority of patients undergo colonoscopy following colorectal cancer surgery. However, there are important variations in surveillance practices across different patient and treatment characteristics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alberta
  • Colonoscopy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Colonoscopy / trends
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Postoperative Period
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sigmoidoscopy / statistics & numerical data