University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Rational follow-up after curative cancer resection

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Surgery

Publication Date


Document Type



Breast Neoplasms; Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung; Colorectal Neoplasms; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Neoplasms; Pancreatic Neoplasms


Neoplasms | Oncology | Surgery


Cancer recurrence after complete resection of the primary tumor is dreaded by patients and physicians alike. Intensive follow-up after curative resection is considered a marker of good practice and frequently perceived as an antidote against recurrence by patients and families. A different perspective on which to predicate follow-up of patients with curatively treated cancer is to consider whether meaningful treatment options exist for recurrence. In cancers for which there are meaningful treatment options, it is reasonable to expect that more-intensive follow-up may improve survival. This commentary discusses this perspective in the context of the established literature in patients with colorectal and breast cancers, two cancers considered to have effective treatments for metastatic and recurrent disease as compared with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and pancreatic cancer, which do not.

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Citation: J Clin Oncol. 2013 Mar 20;31(9):1130-3. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.46.4438. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

PubMed ID