14 December 2020
Bowel Cancer and IBD
People with IBD are at a higher risk for bowel cancer than that of the general population. For those whose IBD is uncontrolled, there is a family history of bowel cancer, or patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis, the risk is higher still.
Screening should start around eight years after a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease is received. Colonoscopy for bowel cancer screening in an IBD patient is different to that in a non-IBD patient.
During a colonoscopy those with IBD should undergo a technique called chromoendoscopy. This allows for easier identification of flat precancerous lesions that may be otherwise missed. Not all doctors are trained in chromoendoscopy, as further training is required to ensure correct usage. If any precancerous lesions are found during a colonoscopy, they are usually readily treatable during the procedure.
It is important for people with IBD to see their GP or gastroenterologist if they develop any new symptoms. Dietary measures can be put in place to reduce the risk of bowel cancer in IBD, such as avoiding processed meat and reducing red meat consumption.
It is recommended that people with IBD should be part of a bowel cancer screening program such as SA Group of Specialists SCOOP Private.
Contributed by Dr Alex Barnes