Designed and created by Guideline Central in participation with the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
Surveillance and Survivorship Care of Patients After Curative Treatment of Colon and Rectal Cancer
Patient Guideline Summary
Publication Date: May 1, 2021
Last Updated: March 3, 2023
This patient summary means to discuss key recommendations from the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) for the surveillance and survivorship care of patients after curative treatment of colon and rectal cancer. It is limited to adults 18 years of age and older and should not be used as a reference for children.
- All cancer survivors need continued contact with their medical team.
- Cancers can recur.
- Lifestyle improvements can reduce the chance of recurrence and improve overall health.
- This patient summary focuses on continued care after cancer treatment.
- Following treatment intended to cure cancer, regular evaluation to detect recurrence is recommended. The nature of the evaluation depends on the extent and location of your cancer.
- Possible kinds of surveillance include:
- Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) testing (a blood test for a cancer marker)
- Computed tomography (CT) imaging of chest, abdomen, and pelvis.
- Colonoscopy or, for rectal cancer, proctosigmoidoscopy (endoscopy limited to the lower parts of the colon) with or without ultrasound.
- The interval between these tests depends upon your level of risk for recurrence, usually between 6 months and a year.
- At each subsequent visit to your doctors, your general health and potential problems related to your cancer will also be addressed:
- Adverse lifestyle behaviors, cognitive dysfunction (when your brain is not working right), or fear of recurrence
- Late and long-term treatment-related symptoms include functional impairment (eg, nerve, bowel, urinary, and sexual dysfunction).
- You should have a survivorship care plan after cancer surgery.
- This document includes a treatment summary, a plan for follow-up care, and possible adverse effects associated with the treatment you received. Its purpose is to assure that your future care will be coordinated and based upon complete and accurate information.
- ASCRS: American Society Of Colon And Rectal Surgeons
- CEA: Carcinoembryonic Antigen
- CT: Computed Tomography
Hardiman KM, Felder SI, Friedman G, Migaly J, Paquette IM, Feingold DL; Prepared on behalf of the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Surveillance and Survivorship Care of Patients After Curative Treatment of Colon and Rectal Cancer. Dis Colon Rectum. 2021 May;64(5):517-533. doi: 10.1097/DCR.0000000000001984. PMID: 33591043.
The information in this patient summary should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.