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Crohn's Disease Health Center

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colon Cancer

Since I have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), do I have a higher chance of getting colon cancer?

Yes. IBD can increase the chances of cancer of the intestine by as much as five times. Even so, more than 90 percent of people who have IBD do NOT get cancer.

I have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). What things affect my risk of getting colon cancer?

What we know about colon cancer and IBD comes mostly from studying people with UC. Less research has been done on the link between CD and cancer, but the few studies that have been done suggest the risk for cancer in people with CD is similar to the risk in those with UC. Even so, the things that affect the risk of cancer seem to be similar for both types of IBD.

The risk of colon cancer in people with IBD depends on the following:

  • how long you have had IBD
  • how much of your colon is affected by IBD

Also, people who have family members with colon cancer may have an even higher chance of getting the cancer.

For people with UC, the risk of colon cancer does not start to increase until they have had the disease for 8-10 years. People whose disease affects the entire colon seem to have the highest risk of colon cancer. People who have inflammation only in the rectum seem to have the lowest risk.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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