How does having colitis affect colon cancer screening?

Last Modified: March 24, 2011


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

How does having colitis affect colon cancer screening?


David Metz, MD, Professor of Gastroenterology at Penn Medicine, responds:

People with long-standing colitis (especially ulcerative colitis but also Crohn's disease if it affects the colon) are at higher risk for colorectal cancer that develops after about 10 yrs. We generally recommend that people with inflammatory bowel disease of more than 10 yrs duration undergo screening at yearly intervals with surveillance biopsies to look for dysplasia which is a marker of the risk for cancer developing in the future. If dysplasia is identified, consideration should be given to a prophylactic colectomy (i.e., colon removal BEFORE cancer develops) because the future risk is significant.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View entire transcript from Advances in Colorectal Cancer Screening.