Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can develop in any part of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but it most commonly affects the small and large intestines.

Crohn’s and other forms of IBD are associated with an increased risk of developing cancer in your colon or rectum, also called colorectal or bowel cancer.

“The disease itself is not a cancer. Most people with Crohn’s don’t develop cancer.”

We’ll explore what we know so far about the chances of colorectal cancer in people with Crohn’s disease, other health complications, treatment, and more.

How many people have inflammatory bowel disease?

An estimated 3 million U.S. adults live with inflammatory bowel diseases, most commonly Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Colorectal cancer is one of the complications associated with Crohn’s and other forms of IBD.

In colorectal cancer, abnormal cells (called oncogenes) grow in the colon or rectum, multiplying uncontrollably. These cells form malignant, or cancerous, tumors. Over time, the cancer cells can spread through the lining of the GI tract and travel to other parts of the body.

Long-term inflammation is the primary link between Crohn’s disease and an increased risk of cancer. Over time, chronic inflammation from Crohn’s can cause high cell turnover on the lining of your GI tract. As your cells constantly become damaged and replaced, this raises the likelihood of cell mutation.

Researchers in a 2014 study analyzed data from more than 800 Australian people with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis from 1977 to 1992. Among those with Crohn’s disease, 1 percent had developed colorectal cancer after 10 years, rising to 2 percent by 30 years.

This number was higher in people with ulcerative colitis, where the 30-year likelihood of cancer was 7 percent. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the lifetime rate of colorectal in the general U.S. population is around 4 percent.

People with IBD have an increased risk of colorectal cancer, but this risk is more associated with ulcerative colitis.

The length of disease is the most important indicator. People with IBD have a higher chance of colorectal cancer than the general population.

“Some forms of Crohn’s are more severe than others, and this may affect cancer risk. Some people have a disease that only affects the small bowel.”

You can experience physical symptoms when your bicyle becomes irritated.

  • There is a lot of diarrhea.
  • It is a symptom of cramping.
  • Your stool has blood in it.
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • Difficult to control bowel movements.

Read more about how the disease affects the body.

“The signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer can be similar to those of other diseases. Let’s discuss how colorectal cancer can start and what it looks like.”

Sometimes cells from the colon or rectum develop on the tissue lining. They can be flat or raised. Polyps can occur as you age, and the majority never become cancer. Most colon cancers begin as polyps.

The two types of polyps associated with colorectal cancer are adenomas and sessile serrated lesions (a type of hyperplastic polyp). These polyps aren’t inherently cancerous but can become so. The most common type of cancerous tumor in colorectal cancer is called an adenocarcinoma.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), common symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

  • There is a lot of diarrhea. and constipation
  • “Your bowels aren’t emptying all the time.”
  • Your stool has blood in it.
  • abdominal pain or It is a symptom of cramping.
  • unexplained weight loss

Colorectal cancer is not usually seen in its early stages. Screening measures are important because of this.

If you are experiencing a sudden change in bowel activity, talk to a doctor. There are many reasons you may be experiencing these symptoms. You can get on the path to treatment with a prompt evaluation.

“There are a number of drugs and therapies that can be used to treat the disease. Some medications are used to treat mild to moderate Crohn’s disease.”

Biologic medications for Crohn’s disease

In more severe forms of the disease, a doctor may prescribe a combination of Immune stimulators. and biologics.

The newer class of medications are called biologics. The immune system uses these proteins to fight off infections. They are effective in fighting diseases that cause inflammation.

Some examples of drugs used to treat a disease.

  • Infliximab is used foremicade.
  • Adalimumab is a drug.
  • Golimumab is a drug.
  • Vedolizumab is a drug.

“You can work with your doctor to create a plan of care for your Crohn’s. Treatment options will be determined by your condition and other factors.”

Bowel rest

Bowel rest is one treatment method for Crohn’s disease. It aims to calm down digestive tract inflammation and give your system time to heal.

This method involves people with Crohn’s exclusively consuming a diet of clear liquids for a period of time, which can be taken by mouth or intravenously.

However, research has demonstrated it’s unclear whether bowel rest actually improves remission rates in people with IBD.

Surgery for Crohn’s disease

In severe forms of Crohn’s, including when cancer is involved, surgery may be needed.

Surgery is relatively common for people who have had Crohn’s for a long time. Researchers in one 2012 study reviewed 310 cases of Crohn’s disease diagnosed between 1970 and 2004. They found that overall, there was a 60 percent probability people needed major abdominal surgery after 20 years of having the disease.

A 2014 study found around 50 percent of people with Crohn’s needed surgery within 30 years after diagnosis.

Surgical procedures for Crohn’s and other forms of IBD may be used to:

In some cases, you may need to have sections of your colon or bowel removed. The surgeon will always aim to preserve as much of your intestines as possible.

“There are different types of surgery for Crohn’s disease.”

Getting emotional support

Living with a chronic condition can cause physical and emotional stress. You need a support network to help you deal with your IBD.

If you want to get a mental health therapist, consider reaching out. Therapy can help you work on your behavior patterns, identify toxic thought, and provide a safe place to talk about what you need to.

There are some resources to start with.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are other significant risk factors that contribute to your chance of developing colorectal cancer besides having IBD.

These include:

  • Family history of colorectal cancer.
  • Having a lot of weight.
  • smoking
  • Consuming alcohol to misuse it.
  • Not getting enough exercise.

Regular screening for colorectal cancer is the best way to prevent colon cancer.

People with IBD have health priorities.

In 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued new guidelines regarding recommendations for screening for colorectal cancer.

“The organization recommends that everyone be screened at 45. This applies to adults who don’t have any risk factors for colorectal cancer.”

Screening strategies for cancer include:

  • Stool tests. Different stool sample tests can detect blood, antibodies, and altered DNA. Following your doctor’s instructions, you usually collect stool samples at home using a provided kit.
  • Colonoscopy. In a colonoscopy procedure, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube with a light on the end into your rectum to evaluate your colon’s health. You will eat a special liquid diet leading up to your colonoscopy and be sedated during the procedure so you don’t feel pain. Colonoscopy is used to help diagnose complications of IBD and identify precancerous tissues or early cancer.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy. Similar to a colonoscopy, this procedure takes a close look at the lower third of the colon (sigmoid).
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy). This uses X-rays to produce a digital image of your entire colon on a computer.

If you have IBD, you should be screened more frequently. The USPSTF recommends that people over the age of 45 have a colonoscopy.

However, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation recommends people who have had Crohn’s disease for at least 8 years to have a colonoscopy every 1 to 2 years.

You can learn more about colorectal cancer screening.

Crohn’s disease is a serious inflammatory condition that can reduce your quality of life when not treated well. It can create a host of uncomfortable symptoms, like There is a lot of diarrhea. and a loss of bowel control.

“The increased risk of developing certain cancers is something that people with Crohn’s disease have.”

“If you have a disease like Crohn’s, you should have screenings for cancer and talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan. Cancers that are identified and treated early are usually the easiest to treat.”