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



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.


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.


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.



More about this publication

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

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