In a nutshell
This study looked at the frequency of follow-ups after surgical treatment in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer and whether it had an effect on survival. The study concluded that more frequent surveillance was not linked to improved survival.
Surveillance during the post-treatment stage of cancer is a critical aspect of cancer treatment. Patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have undergone surgery undergo regular follow-ups to detect local or distant recurrence. Different clinical associations, however, recommend different follow-up frequencies ranging from every 3 months to annually after the treatment. What is the most appropriate frequency of after-treatment surveillance remains under investigation.
Methods & findings
The study included data from 4463 patients from 1066 different hospitals. Patients underwent surveillance after treatment every 3 months (1614 patients), every 6 months (1999 patients) or yearly (850 patients). Patients with later stage cancer had the most frequent surveillance. The follow-up period was 5 years.
Overall, 3552 patients were alive 14 months after surgery. There was no difference in survival chance between any of the three groups. Furthermore, patients who went more than 14 months without imaging (a technique to produce pictures of the internal body) were not at a greater risk of death than those who received frequent imaging.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that more frequent surveillance after surgery was not associated with increased survival in patients with NSCLC.
The fine print
This was a retrospective, observational study. This means that the authors looked back at data records of patients without interfering with any treatments. They only observed the outcomes of these patients.
Consult with your doctor about the most appropriate frequency of surveillance in your situation.
Published By :
Annals of Surgery
Jul 12, 2018