March 11, 2014

Crohn's Disease Facts and Cancer Risk

Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, anywhere along its entire length, that causes a variety of symptoms.

Crohn's Symptoms

Symptoms of the disease are predominantly abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, vomiting or weight loss. It can also cause other complications, such as anemia, skin rashes, arthritis, eye inflammation, fatigue, and difficulty in concentration. The exact cause of the damaging digestive tract inflammation remains unknown, but is thought to be a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and an abnormal immune response or immune deficiency.

More than half a million people in the United States have been diagnosed, but symptoms often exist long prior to diagnosis. The usual onset of the disease is between the ages of 15 and 30 years old, but can occur at any age. Males and females are equally affected. Tobacco smokers are twice more likely to develop it. Treatment is directed to controlling symptoms. maintaining remission and preventing relapse. There appears to be a link between the disease and an increased risk of cancer, specifically lymphoma, leukemia, of the small bowel, colorectal cancer and skin cancer. Additional risk is thought to exist for liver, pancreatic, kidney and testicular cancer.

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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