Cancer Screening

April 2009

Clinical

Early stage bowel cancer

Follow up and survivorship

Volume 38, No.4, April 2009 Pages 205-208

Carmel Pezaro

Michael Jefford

Background

Colorectal cancer is the most common internal malignancy affecting both men and women in Australia.

Objective/s

This review discusses screening, follow up, the long them physical effects of treatment, and the need for survivorship care plans for those with colorectal cancer.

Discussion

Following primary treatment, patient follow up includes screening for recurrence and second primaries, management of long term treatment effects, advice about health promotional strategies, and monitoring and appropriate referral for psychosocial issues. Optimal survivorship care is likely to include considerable general practitioner involvement with ongoing support from oncology specialist teams. Survivorship care can be guided by a tailored survivorship care plan.

Colorectal cancer (CRC ) is the most common malignancy affecting both men and women in Australia,1 and the incidence is expected to rise with the aging population and as a result of increased screening.2 Colorectal cancer survivors represent the third largest group of cancer survivors in western countries.3 The traditional focus of follow up has been the detection of cancer recurrence. However, an increasing body of literature indicates that survivors have a range of other issues and unmet needs following the completion of potentially curative treatments.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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