A few years ago, University of Utah researchers say they noticed that pancreatic cancer seemed to be developing at higher-than-normal rates in IBD patients and their family members.
To see if there was an association, the researchers studied 2,877 adults treated for IBD at the University of Utah Health System from January 1996 to December 2006. Their records were then compared with information from the Utah Cancer Registry and the Utah Population Database.
That way, they could figure out the rate of pancreatic cancer in the general population as well as the rate of pancreatic cancer in people with IBD and compare the two.
"We had striking and unexpected results," says Jason Schwartz, MD, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Utah.
"We thought there would be an association, but we were surprised at the strength of the association," he tells WebMD.