What is the risk of developing colon cancer in a person with Chron's disease?

James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE
Last Modified: June 23, 2002

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
What is the risk of developing colon cancer in a person with Chron's disease?  


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:

The risk of developing colon cancer in persons with Crohn's disease is related to the extent of colon that is involved by the Crohn's disease. Patients with only small bowel Crohn's disease (i.e., no disease in the colon) appear to have a risk of colon cancer comparable to the general population. In contrast, patients with extensive Crohn's disease of the colon appear to have a substantially increased risk of colon cancer. These patients should be followed rigorously by their gastrointestinal specialist with frequent screening evaluations. Please visit the OncoLink/NCCRA colorectal cancer prevention database and register to be considered for colorectal cancer prevention trials.

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