Oncological surgery follow-up and quality of life: meta-analysis

Lissa Wullaert, Kelly R Voigt, Cornelis Verhoef, Olga Husson, Dirk J Grünhagen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: 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. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSION: Low-intensity follow-up does not diminish HRQoL, emotional well-being, or patient satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-665
Number of pages11
JournalThe British journal of surgery
Issue number6
Early online date14 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of BJS Society Ltd.


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