Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Cancer Risk
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
increases the risk of colon cancer. The amount of increased risk depends on the
type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease of
the colon), how much of the intestine is involved, and how long you have been
ill. The cancer risk usually does not increase until you have
had IBD for 8 years or longer.
Starting 8 years after diagnosis,
most doctors recommend screening for colon cancer every 1 to 3 years. The type
of screening depends on the extent of IBD. For people with ulcerative colitis
that affects only the rectum (proctitis), the increase in cancer risk is
slight. In those cases, some experts feel that screening is not needed. But
sigmoidoscopy sometimes can be used.
Colonoscopy is needed if more of the colon is
involved. The doctor will take small tissue samples (biopsies) in the area
affected by IBD to check for precancerous changes or cancer. If abnormal tissue
is found, surgery may be done, usually to remove the colon (colectomy).
With appropriate screening, some cancers are found early and are
The risk of cancer increases the longer a person
has colitis of the entire colon.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerPeter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital