Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jrsocmedLink to Publisher's site
J R Soc Med. 1985 November; 78(11): 920–921.
PMCID: PMC1290000

Is follow up of patients after surgery for breast cancer worthwhile?


The effectiveness of routine outpatient follow up in detecting recurrent disease after 'curative' surgery for breast cancer has been evaluated in a retrospective study of 148 patients. In all, 32 patients developed recurrent cancer. In 3 cases, asymptomatic disease was discovered by routine X-rays. In 25 cases, the patient noticed local disease or complained of symptoms due to distant spread, and over half of these returned to the clinic before the next routine appointment. In only 4 cases was routine examination by a doctor solely responsible for the discovery of recurrent disease. It is concluded that routine follow up made little contribution to the welfare of these patients.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (291K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Atkins H, Hayward JL, Klugman DJ, Wayte AB. Treatment of early breast cancer: a report after ten years of a clinical trial. Br Med J. 1972 May 20;2(5811):423–429. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brinkley D, Haybrittle JL. The curability of breast cancer. Lancet. 1975 Jul 19;2(7925):95–97. [PubMed]
  • Brøyn T, Frøyen J. Evaluation of routine follow-up after surgery for breast carcinoma. Acta Chir Scand. 1982;148(5):401–404. [PubMed]
  • Chaudary MA, Maisey MN, Shaw PJ, Rubens RD, Hayward JL. Sequential bone scans and chest radiographs in the postoperative management of early breast cancer. Br J Surg. 1983 Sep;70(9):517–518. [PubMed]
  • Chaudary MA, Millis RR, Hoskins EO, Halder M, Bulbrook RD, Cuzick J, Hayward JL. Bilateral primary breast cancer: a prospective study of disease incidence. Br J Surg. 1984 Sep;71(9):711–714. [PubMed]
  • Clark PB, Morris DL. Management of patients after mastectomy. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981 Jun 27;282(6282):2095–2096. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cochrane JP, Williams JT, Faber RG, Slack WW. Value of outpatient follow-up after curative surgery for carcinoma of the large bowel. Br Med J. 1980 Mar 1;280(6214):593–595. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Langlands AO, Pocock SJ, Kerr GR, Gore SM. Long-term survival of patients with breast cancer: a study of the curability of the disease. Br Med J. 1979 Nov 17;2(6200):1247–1251. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press