Follow-up for cervical cancer: a Program in Evidence-Based Care systematic review and clinical practice guideline update

L. Elit, E.B. Kennedy, A. Fyles, U. Metser



In 2009, the Program in Evidence-based Care (pebc) of Cancer Care Ontario published a guideline on the follow-up of cervical cancer. In 2014, the pebc undertook an update of the systematic review and clinical practice guideline for women in this target population.


The literature from 2007 to August 2014 was searched using medline and embase [extended to 2000 for studies of human papillomavirus (hpv) dna testing]. Outcomes of interest were measures of survival, diagnostic accuracy, and quality of life. A working group evaluated the need for changes to the earlier guidelines and incorporated comments and feedback from internal and external reviewers.


One systematic review and six individual studies were included. The working group concluded that the new evidence did not warrant changes to the 2009 recommendations, although hpv dna testing was added as a potentially more sensitive method of detecting recurrence in patients treated with radiotherapy. Comments from internal and external reviewers were incorporated.

Recommendations Summary

Follow-up care after primary treatment should be conducted and coordinated by a physician experienced in the surveillance of cancer patients. A reasonable follow-up strategy involves visits every 3–4 months within the first 2 years, and every 6–12 months during years 3–5. Visits should include a patient history and complete physical examination, with elicitation of relevant symptoms. Vaginal vault cytology examination should not be performed more frequently than annually. Combined positron-emission tomography and computed tomography, other imaging, and biomarker evaluation are not advocated; hpv dna testing could be useful as a method of detection of recurrence after radiotherapy. General recommendations for follow-up after 5 years are also provided. 


Cervical cancer; systematic reviews; clinical practice guidelines; follow-up; surveillance

Full Text:



Copyright © 2019 Multimed Inc.
ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)