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.