Deciding whether to have surveillance of the large bowel

Deciding whether to have surveillance of the large bowel

To help you decide whether to have surveillance of the large bowel, you should be given information that you can understand (for example with illustrations, in large print or in your first language). Your specialist should discuss the risks, benefits and limitations of the tests with you. They should explain how surveillance can detect early signs of disease and how early treatment can prevent these progressing to colorectal cancer. You should be given the opportunity to discuss the implications of being on a surveillance programme (such as whether it might reassure you or make you feel worried and how it might affect your quality of life).

If you decide to have surveillance, you and your family should be given the opportunity to talk to a healthcare professional about your concerns at any time during the surveillance programme. You should be able to discuss the benefits, risks and limitations of ongoing surveillance with your specialist when you get the results of your surveillance test. If your specialist thinks that surveillance is no longer of benefit to you, the decision to stop surveillance should be made jointly with you and if appropriate, your family and carers.

Questions you might like to ask about having surveillance of the large bowel

  • Why have you decided to offer me surveillance?

  • What does having surveillance involve?

  • Is there some written material (like a leaflet) or audio information about surveillance of the large bowel that I can have?

  • How often should I have surveillance?

  • Where will surveillance be carried out? Will I need to have it in hospital?

  • Will I be able to carry out my usual activities in the days before having surveillance and straight after surveillance?

  • When will I get the results of surveillance?

  • What happens if I want to stop having surveillance?

  • What happens if I have signs of colorectal cancer? Am I likely to need surgery or other treatment?

  • Information Standard