Background: No post-treatment follow-up methods have been established yet for patients with esophageal carcinoma who undergo radical esophagectomy (Surg) or who show complete response to definitive chemoradiotherapy (dCRT-CR). The purpose of this study was to investigate the current status of follow-up of the Surg and dCRT-CR patients in Japan, and understand the current reality and problems to establish an optimal follow-up method. Methods: A questionnaire on the follow-up method adopted was sent by e-mail to 124 institutions approved by the Japan Esophageal Society as training institutions for board-certified esophageal surgeons; responses were received from 89 institutions. The data were compared with those obtained by a similar survey conducted in 2014. Results: Follow-up methods markedly varied among institutions. Almost all institutions scheduled computed tomography and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy at least once a year up to postoperative year 5 for both the Surg and dCRT-CR groups. At least 70% of the institutions continued follow-up up to postoperative year 10, and this proportion had increased as compared to that reported from the 2014 survey. Only 25–30% of the institutions scheduled follow-up screening for metachronous head and neck cancer for both groups, and the health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) after the treatment were seldom assessed. These trends remained unchanged as compared to those reported from the 2014 survey. Conclusions: The results suggest that the consensus of follow-up protocol could not be established. More attention is required for detection of metachronous cancers and assessment of the HR-QOL. Establishment of a consensus-based follow-up system and verification of its effectiveness are required.
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