Introduction It is a common practice for many cancer types to monitor patients after treatment to detect new disease manifestations early.
For head and neck cancer (HNC), however, long-term routine follow-up is up for debate for several reasons. The benefits of prolonged routine follow-up on survival have not been proven.
Also, cancer follow-up is putting increasing pressure on healthcare resources due to rising incidence and survival rates. Therefore, this study investigates a novel follow-up approach among HNC patients, giving them the opportunity to choose their own follow-up programme.
Methods and analysis HNC patients are offered a decision-aided choice between standardised or individualised follow-up after 1.5 years of uncomplicated guideline-prescribed follow-up.
Standardised follow-up entails continuing the 5-year guideline-prescribed schedule. Individualised follow-up means the patient only attends the outpatient clinic on their own initiative in case of physical symptoms or supportive care needs.
Patients are educated on self-examination and when a control visit is necessary. The primary outcome measure is the feasibility of offering patients this choice. Secondary outcome measures are quality of life, costs, productivity loss and detection of new disease.