Information for the public

About this information

NICE clinical guidelines advise the NHS on caring for people with specific conditions or diseases and the treatments they should receive. The information applies to people using the NHS in England and Wales.

This information explains the advice about offering surveillance of the large bowel to prevent cancer in people at risk that is set out in NICE clinical guideline 118.

Inflammatory bowel disease or polyps (also called adenomas) affecting the large bowel can increase a person's risk of developing colorectal cancer. The specific types of inflammatory bowel disease considered in this information are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. In this information, 'surveillance' means having regular checks to see if there are any changes or any early signs of disease suggesting cancer in the large bowel.

Does this information apply to me?

Yes, if you are an adult (age 18 and older):

  • who has had symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease affecting the large bowel) for at least 10¬†years

  • who has polyps in the large bowel.

No, if you are:

  • a child (younger than 18 years)

  • an adult with cancer of the large bowel or rectum that has recently been diagnosed or has worsened

  • an adult with polyps who has previously been treated for colorectal cancer

  • an adult who is at risk of a certain type of colorectal cancer that runs in families (called hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer)

  • an adult with polyps caused by a condition that runs in families (the most common of these conditions is called familial adenomatous polyposis).

  • Information Standard