Information for the public
People with inflammatory bowel disease
If you have had symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease for at least 10 years your specialist should offer you a test called a colonoscopy (see 'Surveillance tests').
The colonoscopy will show how much of your large bowel is affected by inflammatory bowel disease and how active the disease is. It can also detect signs of dysplasia or early colorectal cancer in the large bowel. Your specialist will look at the findings of the colonoscopy and consider any history of colorectal cancer in your family and whether you have any other conditions, such as narrowing of your large bowel or a type of liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis, to determine your risk of developing colorectal cancer. If your risk is higher than people in the general population, you should be offered surveillance at 1 year, 3 years or 5 years, depending on your level of risk.
If there are any signs of dysplasia or early colorectal cancer in your large bowel, you should be offered treatment or you may be referred to another specialist. Your options should be discussed with you.
If you have a condition called proctitis, when only the lowest part of the bowel is inflamed, you should not be offered surveillance.