Gastroenterologists from Bowel Cancer Australia, including Dr Cameron Bell - Chair of the Colonoscopy Surveillance Working Group, have contributed to the NHMRC’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for Surveillance Colonoscopy which are now available.
Dr Cameron Bell said the guidelines are intended for use by all practitioners and health workers who require information about surveillance colonoscopy - in adenoma follow-up, following curative resection of colorectal (bowel) cancer, and for cancer surveillance in inflammatory bowel disease.
These were most recently revised in 2005 and serve as a guide to clinicians in making decisions about the appropriate time to perform follow-up colonoscopy in patients with previous colonic polyps or bowel cancer. Such questions are of vital importance not only to the management of individual patients but also to the appropriate ‘allocation’ of the resource of colonoscopy within the Australian community.
‘Surveillance’ colonoscopies, namely those performed in people who have already had a bowel cancer or polyp detected, constitute a significant proportion of all colonoscopies performed each year in Australia and it is in everyone’s best interests to have these procedures performed at appropriate intervals - that is, no more frequently than necessary and frequently enough to pick up any new polyps which have developed since the previous colonoscopy.
Clinical practice guidelines bring together the best available evidence to underpin scientifically valid recommendations for the prevention and diagnosis of cancer and treatment and care of patients. Previous guidelines developed by the Australian Cancer Network have been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
NHMRC endorsed guidelines are revised in accordance with legislative requirements. All work with Guidelines promotes evidence as the basis of development. The aim of the current review is to incorporate the most up to date scientific information into the Guidelines.
For more information on NHMRC Clinical Practice Guidelines and other resources for Health Professionals visit Bowel Cancer: Health Professional Resources.