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IBD and colon cancer: How often do you need a screening?



You may be concerned about the association between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer if you have IBD that includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It is important to understand that IBD does not necessarily lead to colon cancer.

However, if you suffer from Crohn's disease that affects the lower part of your large intestine (colon), it increases your risk of colon cancer. Therefore, you will need more frequent screening for colorectal cancer to diagnose and treat the problem early. In addition, this type of IBD may limit your selection for colorectal cancer screening.

There are several common colorectal cancer screening tests, including colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography), fecal occult blood, and flexible sigmoidoscopy. The best screening test for people with Crohn's disease affecting the lower part of the colon is colonoscopy. This screening test uses a long, flexible and slender tube attached to a video camera and monitor to view your entire colon and rectum. If suspicious areas are found, your doctor can pull surgical instruments through the tube to take tissue samples (biopsies) for analysis.

General colorectal cancer care guidelines for people without Crohn's disease require colonoscopy every 10 years from the age of 50. Depending on how long you have had Crohn's disease and how much of your colon is affected, you may need to take two to two Years a colonoscopy. Talk to your doctor about the best colorectal cancer screening schedule for your specific situation.

Updated: 2014-12-27

Release date: 2014-12-27


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