Cancer Surveillance Guidelines

Screening Guidelines for Health Care Providers 
Surveillance is an important factor in monitoring and responding to signs and symptoms which may arise once patients have completed active treatment. Early detection of either a new or recurrent cancer is important, as treatment is more likely to be curative at an earlier stage. For information on prostate cancer, see our patient screening information page.
Visit our I am a Cancer Survivor page for cancer patient survivor guides.
  • These surveillance guidelines have been developed to assist primary care providers and patients determine and monitor the appropriate follow up schedule. 
  • Follow-up is provided by the primary care provider (where appropriate in partnership with the surgeon) and the patient 
  • Patients will also receive a copy of these follow up care recommendations so they are aware of the schedule and appropriate follow up investigations. 
  • Cancer survivors should follow the same cancer prevention recommendations for diet, healthy weight and physical activity as the general population, if able to do so, and unless otherwise advised. 
  • For patients with significant co-morbidities and/or short life expectancy, surveillance may not be appropriate and physicians should discuss ceasing routine follow up with these patients based on their goals of care. 
  • Clinical evaluation should attempt to highlight any new systemic symptoms, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, as well as more localized symptoms, such as pain, which might be suggestive of increased disease activity. 
  • Post-treatment patients who develop symptoms should have a complete clinical reassessment with appropriate investigations and follow-up regardless of the surveillance protocol. The same urgency and time frame as for the new symptomatic patient applies.