Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate psychological effects of the state-of-art intensified follow-up protocol for colorectal cancer patients in the CEAwatch trial.
Method: At two time points during the CEAwatch trial questionnaires regarding patients' attitude towards follow-up, patients' psychological functioning and patients' experiences and expectations were sent to participants by post. Linear mixed models were fitted to assess the influences and secular trends of the intensified follow-up on patients' attitude towards follow-up and psychological functioning. As secondary outcome, odds ratios were calculated using ordinal logistic mixed model to compare patients' experiences to their expectations, as well as their experiences at two different time points.
Results: No statistical significant effects of the intensified follow-up were found on patients' attitude towards the follow-up and psychological functioning variables. Patients had high expectations of the intensified follow-up and their experiences at the second time point were more positive compared to the scores at the first time point.
Conclusion: The intensified follow-up protocol posed no adverse effects on patients' attitude towards follow-up and psychological functioning. In general, patients were more nervous and anxious at the start of the new follow-up protocol, had high expectations of the new follow-up protocol and were troubled by the nuisances of the blood sample testing. As they spent more time in the follow-up and became more adapted to it, the nervousness and anxiety decreased and the preference for the frequent blood test became high in replacement of conversations with the doctors.