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Risk of cancer in bowel disease

People with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are known to be at increased risk for colon cancer.

Risk of cancer in bowel disease

People with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are known to be at increased risk for colon cancer. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases. With Crohn's disease the inflammation typically involves the small intestine, but it can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, whereas with ulcerative colitis, the disease is usually confined to the colon and rectum. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, studied 43 inflammatory bowel diseases patients with colon tumours and 102 similar patients without tumors. They identified several factors that raise the risk of colon cancer in these patients. The presence of primary sclerosis cholangitis, a disease involving scarring of the bile ducts inside and outside the liver, raised the risk by nearly sevenfold. Frequent disease flare-ups and 1 year or more of continuous symptoms increased the risk as well. The findings confirm emerging data that the degree of chronic inflammation of the intestines is a risk factor for cancer in the setting of inflammatory bowel diseases. It also confirms previous studies that primary sclerosing cholangitis is an important risk factor. Unfortunately, frequent physician visits did not lower the risk of developing cancer.
American Journal of Gastroenterology,
May 2007
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