Patient-led home-based follow-up after surgery for colorectal cancer: the protocol of the prospective, multicentre FUTURE-primary implementation study.





Ethical approval was given by the Medical Ethics Review Committee of Erasmus Medical Centre, The Netherlands (2021-0499). Results will be presented in peer-reviewed journals.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common type of cancer in the Netherlands. Approximately 90% of patients can be treated with surgery, which is considered potentially curative. Postoperative surveillance during the first 5 years after surgery pursues to detect metastases in an early, asymptomatic and treatable stage. Multiple large randomised controlled trials have failed to show any (cancer-specific) survival benefit of intensive postoperative surveillance compared with a minimalistic approach in patients with CRC. This raises the question whether an (intensive) in-hospital postoperative surveillance strategy is still warranted from both a patient well-being and societal perspective. A more modern, home-based surveillance strategy could be beneficial in terms of patients' quality of life and healthcare costs.


The multicentre, prospective FUTURE-primary study implements a patient-led home-based surveillance after curative CRC treatment. Here, patients are involved in the choice regarding three fundamental aspects of their postoperative surveillance. First regarding frequency, patients can opt for additional follow-up moments to the minimal requirement as outlined by the current Dutch national guidelines. Second regarding the setting, both in-hospital or predominantly home-based options are available. And third, concerning patient-doctor communication choices ranging from in-person to video chat, and even silent check-ups. The aim of the FUTURE-primary study is to evaluate if such a patient-led home-based follow-up approach is successful in terms of quality of life, satisfaction and anxiety compared with historic data. A successful implementation of the patient-led aspect will be assessed by the degree in which the additional, optional follow-up moments are actually utilised. Secondary objectives are to evaluate quality of life, anxiety, fear of cancer recurrence and cost-effectiveness.

More about this publication

BMJ open
  • Volume 13
  • Issue nr. 10
  • Pages e074089
  • Publication date 12-10-2023

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