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Cancer of the Small Intestine

Preventing Cancer of the Small Intestine

The association of small bowel cancer with underlying conditions makes it possible to identify populations at risk and to develop screening programs.

  • People with a family history of polyp syndromes, such as Peutz-Jeghers and Gardner syndrome, may benefit from regular screening using upper GI tract barium studies.
  • People with celiac disease are at higher risk of developing both adenocarcinoma and lymphoma of the small bowel. They need to maintain a gluten-free diet.
  • People with celiac disease who also have new onset weight loss, diarrhea, or abdominal pain need immediate medical attention, including possible CT scan of the abdomen and barium study of the small bowel to rule out cancer.
  • People with Crohn's disease and small bowel bypass procedures also require immediate attention.
  • Adenocarcinoma related to Crohn's disease frequently develops in the lower end of the small bowel, making colonoscopy a potentially useful screening tool.


Media file 1: The small intestine is positioned between the stomach and the colon and is responsible for food absorption.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on November 05, 2013
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