Helpline
Speak to a registered nurse.
Call the Beating Bowel Cancer Helpline
(9-5:30 Mon - Thu, 9-4 Fri)

020 8973 0011

or email nurse@beatingbowelcancer.org

Follow-up tests

The follow-up tests described below will allow your hospital team to monitor your progress. If there are problems identified in these tests, this will trigger review at a colorectal multi-disciplinary team meeting and further tests if necessary.

Scans

A CT scan takes a series of X rays to make a cross-sectional image of the inside of your body, including the liver, lungs and other structures. Radiation is used during the scan, which takes about eight minutes and is painless. A dye, called a contrast medium, is injected into a vein for this procedure. You will not be given other types of scans such as MRI or PET routinely during follow-up, however these may be ordered if further images are needed in particular circumstances. For an explanation of why different scans are used, please see this page.

 

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is an investigation of the lining of your rectum and colon using a long thin flexible telescope fitted with a camera and lights, which is usually passed through the anus. It is an effective way of spotting problems inside the bowel lining and will be offered if you have any part of your colon left after surgery. If only your rectum is left, you will be offered a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which is a shorter scope.

 

If you have a stoma, the camera will be passed through the opening. If you use a closed bag system you will need to get some open-ended ileostomy bags from your stoma nurse to manage the increased fluid from the bowel preparation.

 

You can’t have a colonoscopy if there is a serious risk of the bowel preparation causing you harm. If you have poor kidney function, you may have to be admitted to hospital for intravenous fluid support during bowel preparation. If you are taking warfarin, you may have to change to a different blood-thinning medication for a number of days before the colonoscopy.