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CMAJ. 1997 Oct 1;157(7):879-86.

Costs and benefits of routine follow-up after curative treatment for endometrial cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Ottawa, Ont.

Erratum in

  • CMAJ 1998 Jan 13;158(1):26.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the costs of routine outpatient follow-up after curative treatment of endometrial cancer, and to determine whether this leads to early detection of recurrence or survival. The impact of specific disease characteristics on survival is examined.

DESIGN:

Retrospective chart review, and calculation of costs.

SETTING:

Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre-Civic Division (ORCC-C).

PATIENTS:

All 432 patients referred to the ORCC-C with endometrial cancer between 1982 and 1991 who received treatment with curative intent and who continued with routine follow-up.

RESULTS:

Cancer recurred in 50 patients (11.57%). There was no statistically significant difference in overall survival between patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic recurrences, or between those with recurrences detected during routine follow-up visits or in the interval between routine visits. Of 4830 Papanicolaou (Pap) smears performed routinely, cancer was detected in 6 cases. The mean cost of the routine follow-up procedures for each patient with a recurrence was $19,200.

CONCLUSION:

Intensive follow-up of women with endometrial cancer does not result in improved survival. A prospective randomized study is warranted to evaluate other potential benefits of follow-up, such as improved quality of life or decreased morbidity. There is no economic or clinical justification for the routine use of the Pap smear in the follow-up of patients with endometrial cancer. The potential benefits of routine follow-up in endometrial cancer and other types of cancer with favourable prognoses warrant critical evaluation.

PMID:
9327795
PMCID:
PMC1228212
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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