Crohn’s Disease And Your Risk For Colon Cancer


Connecting Colon Cancer and Crohns The reason for the higher rates of colon cancer in Crohns isnt exactly clear. There is a general understanding that long-term inflammation in the GI tract can lead to changes in a tumor suppressor protein called p53, limiting its ability to prevent cancers, Bickston said. One thing that experts know for sure is that the worse your Crohns disease, the higher your risk for colon cancer. Colorectal cancer risk is highest in people with extensive involvement of the colon, those who have a longer disease course 8 to 10 years and in people with family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer, said Michael Rotkowitz, MD, hematologist and medical-oncologist at Cancer Treatment Center of America in Philadelphia. Cancer risk also rises in people who have had a segment of their bowel bypassed. Dr. Rotkowitz added that the increased risk for colorectal cancer exists regardless of whether your disease is active or inactive. Cancer risk depends most on the length of time a person has had the diagnosis and the length of the colon involved, he said. Screening for Colon Cancer With Crohns Disease Because people with Crohns disease are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer, screening with colonoscopy is important, said Daniel Sadler, MD, chairman of the Colon and Rectal Cancer Institute at Somerset Medical Centers Steeplechase Cancer Center in Somerville, N.J. Colonoscopy , a test that provides an inside look at your colon and rectum, provides important information to your doctor the level of inflammation in your colon, how much of the colon is affected, how well your Crohns treatment is working, and whether any cancerous or precancerous growths are present. If youve had Crohns for eight years, the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America recommends a routine colonoscopy every year or two. It’s also important to be aware of the symptoms of colorectal cancer.

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A Colon Cancer Treatment Diet

Medically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD After colon cancer diagnosis and treatment, you may be surprised to hear that there is still time to change your diet for the better. At first you may not have much of an appetite, either when youre recovering from surgery or when dealing with the effects of chemotherapy. But eating right will not only help with healing it can also go a long way toward helping prevent a recurrence of your colon cancer. Colon Cancer Treatment Diet: Ground-Breaking Research A first-of-its-kind research study, conducted by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, followed just over 1,000 patients with stage III colon cancer treated with surgery and chemotherapy . Two groups of patients were followed: those who continued to eat the Western diet popular in developed countries, and those who were more inclined to eat a diet based on fruit, vegetables, and low-fat protein. The Western diet patients were 3 1/2 times more likely to experience a recurrence of their colon cancer than those whose diet was at the other end of the scale, demonstrating that patients can improve their survival chances by making changes in their diet. Here are the specifics: What to avoid. The foods favored by the group with highest colon cancer recurrence included: Red and processed meats Refined grains like white bread French fries While the research didnt explain why this diet leads to more recurrence, the results could be linked to higher insulin levels and related conditions that may cause tumors to form and develop. What to eat. The foods favored by the group with less colon cancer recurrence included: Fruits and vegetables Fish Colon Cancer Treatment Diet: Putting it All Together As you start to rebuild your diet, heres how to fill your plate. When your appetite is low, make these choices first. Fruits and vegetables. Fill your plate with as many of these as you can five to nine servings of fruits and veggies each day. Green leafy vegetables, mangos, berries, cantaloupes, and dried apricots may be some of your best bets. Make a special effort to eat foods rich in folate (folic acid), a B vitamin.

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Colon Polyps – Treatment Overview

The bigger a colon polyp is, especially if it is larger than 1 cm (0.4 in.), the more likely it is that the polyp will be adenomatous or contain cancer cells and need to be removed. In some cases, very small polyps [5 mm (0.2 in.) or less] may not be removed. Some studies have concluded that even if they contain adenomatous tissue, these polyps take so many years to grow that they pose little risk of cancer, except in people who have inherited (familial) polyp syndromes. 1 Most colon polyps are not likely to develop into cancer. If only hyperplastic polyps are found during your flexible sigmoidoscopy, you likely do not need to have a colonoscopy. These polyps do not become cancerous. In this case you can continue your regular screenings, unless you are at an increased risk for colon cancer because of a family history of colon cancer or an inherited polyp syndrome. Risks of removing polyps during colonoscopy Complications from colonoscopy are rare. There is a slight risk of: Puncturing the colon (less than 1 in 1,000) or causing severe bleeding by damaging the wall of the colon (less than 3 in 1,000). Bleeding caused by removing a polyp. Complications from sedatives given during the procedure. Ongoing treatment Regular screenings for colon polyps are the best way to prevent polyps from developing into colon cancer. Most colon polyps can be identified and removed during a colonoscopy. If you have had one or more adenomatous polyps removed, you probably need regular follow-up colonoscopy exams every 3 to 5 years. Talk with your doctor about the follow-up schedule that he or she thinks is best for you. Treatment if the condition gets worse Surgery is sometimes needed for large colon polyps that have a broad area of attachment ( sessile polyps ) to the colon wall.

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