Previous trials found that more intensive postoperative surveillance schedules did not improve survival. Oncological follow-up also provides an opportunity to address psychological issues (for example anxiety, depression, and fear of recurrence). This systematic review assessed the impact of a less intensive surveillance strategy on health-related quality of life (HRQoL), emotional well-being, and patient satisfaction.
Thirty-five studies were identified, focusing on melanoma (4), colorectal (10), breast (7), prostate (4), upper gastrointestinal (4), gynaecological (3), lung (2), and head and neck (1) cancers. Twenty-two studies were considered to have a low risk of bias, of which 14 showed no significant difference in HRQoL between follow-up approaches. Five studies with a low risk of bias showed improved HRQoL or emotional well-being with a less intensive follow-up approach and three with an intensive approach. Meta-analysis of HRQoL outcomes revealed no negative effects for patients receiving less intensive follow-up.
Low-intensity follow-up does not diminish HRQoL, emotional well-being, or patient satisfaction.
A systematic search was conducted in PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane database, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar to identify studies comparing different follow-up strategies after oncological surgery and their effect on HRQoL and patient satisfaction, published before 4 May 2022. A meta-analysis was conducted on the most relevant European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale subscales.