Colitis Home > Crohn's Disease and Cancer
There appears to be a link between Crohn's disease and cancer. Crohn's disease may increase the risk for colon cancer, particularly if the inflammation associated with Crohn's affects the entire colon. Some people with Crohn's disease may benefit from screening for colon cancer.
Crohn's disease may increase your risk of developing some forms of cancer. If the inflammation is mainly in your small intestine, your risk of cancer of the small intestine is increased. In people whose Crohn's disease affects the colon (large intestine), there is a slight increase in the risk for colon cancer. The risk of cancer gets higher the longer the colon has been affected and the more of it that's involved. For example, if only the lower colon and rectum are involved, the risk of cancer is not higher than normal. But, if the whole colon is involved, the risk of cancer may be as great as 32 times the normal rate.
People who have had Crohn's disease throughout their colon for at least eight years, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in only the left colon for at least 15 years, should have a screening colonoscopy every 1 to 2 years to check for precancerous changes in the cells of the colon lining. This screening won't reduce the risk for getting colon cancer, but it can help find cancer early, when it is easier to treat.