Is there an association between thyroid cancer and colon cancer?

Last Modified: May 11, 2003

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I had thyroid cancer and have diverticulosis. What are my risks? Should I be tested more often? 


James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Senior Scholar at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

I am unaware of an association between thyroid cancer and colon cancer. Persons with diverticulosis may have a slightly increased risk of colon cancer, but the magnitude of this risk and the reason for this are not well understood. The presence of diverticulosis is currently not an indication for increased screening. Depending on your age, persons with lower gastrointestinal bleeding should undergo an examination of the colon, usually with colonoscopy. For very young patients, sigmoidoscopy may be sufficient. Once a good colonoscopy has been done, subsequent screening recommendations would not necessarily be influenced by the presence of diverticular disease.

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