The aims of our study were to assess the effect of follow-up on the quality of life of colorectal cancer patients and to assess the attitudes of patients towards follow-up as a function of patient characteristics. Patients who had been treated with curative intent were selected from four types of hospitals. Eighty-two patients were interviewed using a structured questionnaire, whereas 130 patients received the questionnaire by mail. To assess the effect of follow-up on the quality of life, the interviewed patients were randomly allocated to three groups and interviewed at different times in relation to the follow-up visit. Analysis did not show an effect of the follow-up visit on quality of life. Patients reported a positive attitude towards follow-up: it reassured them, they judged the communication with the physician to be positive, and they experienced only slight nervous anticipation and few other disadvantages. Patients reported a strong preference for follow-up, and a large majority would prefer follow-up even if it would not lead to earlier detection of a recurrence. Apart from living situation, no patient characteristics were clearly associated with the attitude towards follow-up. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.