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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How and how often should UC be monitored?

    I was diagnosed with UC 18 months ago but realise noe have had symptoms on and off for 25 years. How often should endoscopy be performed to mointor for bowel cancer? Are 6 monthly blood tests enough?
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    For more than 25 years, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia™ (formerly the Australian Crohn’s and Colitis Association) has been making life more liveable for more than … View Profile

    How often surveillance colonoscopy needs to be done to detect cancer depends on individual risk factors including how much of the colon is involved and the total duration of the disease.   A family history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer (CRC) also affects the risk.  Gastroenterologists may recommend a yearly colonoscopy for someone in a high risk group (e.g. has chronic inflammation or CRC history), and every three years if in a low risk group (e.g. have extensive disease, but no inflammation on previous colonoscopy, or have left sided colitis).   However for some, where mild dysplasia (signs of a change in the cells that can lead to cancer) has been found, it may be decided to undergo repeat screening after just 3-6 months.   In those with early signs of being at risk of cancer it may be recommended they have surgery.  It’s important that patients discuss their individual situation with their gastroenterologist.  Unfortunately blood tests alone are not going to pick up what can be seen during endoscopy or in biopsy samples seen by the pathologist.   

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