Patient preferences for clinical follow-up after primary treatment for soft tissue sarcoma: A cross-sectional survey and discrete choice experiment

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Patients treated for soft tissue sarcoma (STS) require long-term follow-up to detect recurrent or metastatic disease, yet marked differences exist in clinical approaches to the length of follow-up, frequency of consultations and investigations undertaken at follow-up visits. There has been no published work assessing patient expectations or the acceptability of post-treatment follow-up strategies. This study aimed to assess the patient acceptability of different follow-up strategies following curative surgery for soft tissue sarcoma and to investigate the hypothetical levels of recurrence risk at which different follow-up regimes were acceptable.

Patients were recruited from the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham. The study used a cross-sectional survey incorporating a best-worst scaling discrete choice experiment to assess patient preferences regarding different aspects of follow-up.

132 patients participated (47% response). The nature of investigations undertaken during follow-up was the most important aspect of post-surgical care. Patients typically preferred appointments routinely consisting of clinical examination and chest X-ray, and for follow-up to remain in secondary care rather than general practice.

Clear protocols for STS patient follow-up can improve consistency and equity of care. In determining the optimum follow-up plan for STS patients from the patient perspective, this study provides valuable information that should be considered alongside the clinical effectiveness of follow-up strategies to maximise patient outcomes and use NHS resources appropriately.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1655-1661
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology (EJSO)
Issue number12
Early online date26 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • soft tissue sarcoma, follow-up, secondary care, discrete choice experiment, best-worst scaling