Bowel Cancer Follow Up

What can I expect after the operation?

Following surgery most patients return to a normal diet within days following surgery. Depending on the patients health prior and following surgery, most patients are able to go home within 1 week of surgery and able to manage independently. The recovery time however, is variable and it will take longer for some patients. 

Will I be cured of the cancer?

Yes there will be a good chance of being cured of the cancer if it is detected at an early stage. More than 50% of patients are cured by surgery. Depending on the location, severity and extent of the cancer, some patients will be advised that they need extra treatment which may involve chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Will I develop another cancer?

Patients who develop one cancer are at a slightly increased risk than the general population of developing a second cancer and for that reason your surgeon will recommend follow up which includes further colonoscopies.


How often should I see my surgeon?

An early post-operative review will be arranged for you within two-to-four weeks of leaving hospital. From then on the surgeon will recommend a set program of reviews according to the recommendations of the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia.

For how long should I continue to be checked?

The Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia recommends that a patient should be reviewed by the surgeon for as long as they remains fit to undergo further treatment should a new cancer develop. The following is a summary of the plan recommended by the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand for "follow-up" of a patient after an operation to remove a cancer of the large bowel.

  • Early post-operative colonoscopy, if colonoscopy or barium enema had not been performed before the operation

  • A review at regular and frequent intervals for five years

  • Colonoscopy at least every three years

  • Other tests to detect cancer according to clinical indications

This protocol may vary with individual patient pathology and surgical treatment.