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The clinical value and the cost-effectiveness of follow-up in endometrial cancer patients
  1. W. A. A. Tjalma*,
  2. P. A. Van Dam,
  3. A. P. Makar and
  4. D. J. Cruickshank§
  1. * Department of Gynaecology and Gynaecological Oncology, University Hospital Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
  2. Medical Institute St Augustinus, Wilrijk, Belgium
  3. General Hospital Middelheim, Antwerp, Belgium
  4. § Gynaecological Oncology Centre, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Wiebren A. A. Tjalma, Department of Gynecological Oncology, University Hospital Antwerp, Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Antwerp, Belgium. Email: wiebren.tjalma{at}


The aim of the present article was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of follow-up in endometrial cancer patients. A literature review was performed regarding the studies that addressed routine follow-up of endometrial cancer. For each published study, the costs of the follow-up program were calculated according to Belgium standards. A mean total of 13% relapsed. Symptomatology and clinical examination detected over 83% of the recurrences. The follow-up cost in euro after 5 and 10 years ranged between 127.68 and 2028.78 and between 207.48 and 2353.48, respectively. Based on the available data, there is little evidence of routine follow-up improving survival rates. Multiple protocols are used in practice without an evidence base. There is an urgent need for prospective randomized studies to evaluate the value of the current so-called ‘standard medical practice of follow-up.’ It is to be expected that the cost of follow-up could be reduced considerably, for instance, by tailoring to low- and high-risk groups, or by abandoning routine follow-up. Symptomatic patients, however, should be evaluated immediately. A reduction in the number of visits and examinations would mean an enormous reduction in costs. This economic benefit would be warmly welcomed in the times of increased health costs and decreased budgets.

  • cost-effectiveness
  • endometrial cancer
  • follow-up
  • survival

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