Colorectal cancer diagnoses have been considerably reduced over the past decade by advances in colorectal screening that have allowed health care providers to catch abnormal, often asymptomatic growths called polyps before they turn into cancer. Health experts are now looking to a link between inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, and colon cancer to stay two steps ahead of cancer cases. Consideration of this link is helping them to curb colon cancer in younger populations; since regular colposcopies are not typically recommended until after an individual turns 50 years old, keeping tabs on the incidence of IBD and colon cancer in younger individuals is a critical aspect in the prevention of colorectal cancer.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colorectal Cancer
A study published in BMJ found that children diagnosed with IBD were more than twice as likely to develop colorectal cancer than the general population. Researchers analyzed a large pool of data — five decades’ worth of health records from approximately 100,000 patients between 1964 up through 2014. Over 9,400 individuals in the study had been diagnosed with childhood onset IBD (occurring before the age of 18).
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