Why should there be a postoperative follow-up program?
How long will my follow-up programs last?
What might I expect at my follow up visit?
What about my family?

Why should there be a postoperative follow-up program?

Surgery is the most effective treatment for colorectal cancer. Even when all visible cancer has been removed, it is possible for cancer cells to be present in other areas of the body. These cancer deposits, when very small, are undetectable at the time of surgery, but may grow at a later time. The chance of recurrence depends on the characteristics of the original cancer, and the effectiveness of any chemotherapy or other follow up treatment. Patients with recurrent cancers - if diagnosed early - may benefit, or be cured, by further surgery or other treatment. Remember, colorectal cancer has a 43% rate of recurrence. The sensitivity of TDT's blood monitor test is a major step in improving the detection of recurrent cancer.

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How long will my follow-up programs last?

Most recurrent cancers are detected within the first three years after surgery. Therefore, follow up is most frequent during this period of time. After five years, nearly all cancers that are going to recur will have done so. Follow up after five years is primarily to detect new polyps, and can be less frequent but advisable for life.

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What might I expect at my follow up visit?

Your doctor will examine you approximately every three or four months for the first two years, and discuss your progress. A CEA blood test can be done, as a method of trying to detect recurrence of cancer. Because this test is NOT totally reliable, other follow up examinations may be advised. TDT's PCR-based blood monitoring technology is a leap forward in terms of sensitivity and specificity for detection of recurrence. It has recently been introduced to the medical community and your physician may not be aware of it. Please feel free to direct your physician to this web site.

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What about my family?

Close relatives of patients with colon and rectal cancer (parents, brothers, sisters, children) are at increased risk for the disease. Because of this, periodic examination of the lining of the colon, using a colonoscope to detect small polyps, is advised. If polyps are promptly detected and removed, cancers cannot develop. Other factors, which increase the risk of developing polyps or cancer include the occurrence of cancer at an early age, and a personal history of breast or female genital cancer.