Does Crohn’s Disease Cause Cancer

Does Crohn’s Disease Cause Cancer

It is a chronic inflammatory disease process with abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss as its complaining symptoms. This is one of the conditions grouped under inflammatory bowel diseases.

While Crohn’s disease itself is not cancerous, there is enormous concern among patients and health providers on whether or not Crohn’s disease raises the risk for some types of cancers.

Understanding the Link

Studies have established that persons who have had Crohn’s disease are at an increased risk of developing some types of cancer, particularly colorectal and small bowel cancer.

This increased risk is mainly brought about due to the state of chronic inflammation caused by the condition. Chronic inflammation may cause DNA damage in most cells, thereby encouraging the development of cancerous growth over time.

Colorectal Cancer Risk

There is evidence of increased risk for colorectal cancer in patients who have Crohn’s illness of the colon. The most significant degree attended to by this probability would be those with the most extended duration of disease and with more extensive colonic inflammation.

The risk shows a significant increase beyond 8-10 years of Crohn’s colitis. For such patients, regular screening by way of colonoscopies ought to be done as a measure of detecting and preventing the development of this cancer.

Does Crohn's Disease Cause Cancer

Small Bowel Cancer Risk

This is less common, but those with Crohn’s should also be vigilant for small bowel cancer. Chronic inflammation in the small intestine could affect changes in the cells lining the small bowel that may increase the risk for cancer.

Long-standing Crohn’s patients, mainly those who have developed strictures or fistula, should be attentive to their symptoms and adhere to proper surveillance.

Other Cancers

There is some evidence of a slightly increased risk for other cancers, in particular lymphoma and skin cancer, in people with Crohn’s disease. Specific immunosuppressive medications used for the management of symptoms might be causative.

However, most of the time, the benefits outweigh the risks and are essential for reducing inflammation and preserving quality of life.

Preventative Measures

To mitigate the risk of cancer, patients with Crohn’s disease should adhere to the following guidelines:

The following precautions can help decrease the risk of cancer in patients with Crohn’s disease:

  • Screening regularly: One should undergo a colonoscopy and all other suggested screenings as frequently as the doctor advises. The earlier the identification of precancerous changes, the more positive the outcomes are.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: A diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains plus an active lifestyle makes one able to reduce inflammation and keep up general health.
  • Medication Adherence: Adhere to prescribed treatment in order to maintain good control over inflammation, as this reduces the risk of cancer development.
  • Avoid Smoking: Smoking can worsen Crohn’s disease and increase one’s risk for colorectal cancer. Stopping smoking is essential in treating Crohn’s disease properly.


Patients are advised to monitor their condition closely, adhere to treatment plans, and stay healthy with the proper support of their healthcare provider.

If they remain well informed and watchful, a person having Crohn’s disease can minimize the risk of cancer and can easily lead a better quality of life.

Dr. Kailash Mishra
Director & Gastroenterologist Consultant
Prime Gastro Liver Clinic

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