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IBD is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. The risk begins with levels comparable to the general populations then gradually rises over time. A number of risk factors in IBD increase the chance of developing cancer, these include:

  • Disease duration (this risk surpasses the general population’s 8–10 years after symptom onset and then continues to rise 0.5–1% each year: the degree of longstanding inflammation)
  • Family history of cancer (history among first-degree relatives – parents, siblings, or children)
  • Strictures
  • Presence of inflammatory pseudopolyps
  • Primary sclerosing chonlangitis (a liver disease associated with IBD)

Preventative factors

Research shows a favourable role of the anti-inflammatory drug Mesalazine (also known as 5-ASA or 5-aminosalicylic acid) in the prevention of cancer and dysplasia (abnormal development or growth of tissues, organs, or cells) in patients with UC

What can I do?

Colonoscopy surveillance: Patients at risk are advised to have regular colonoscopies with multiple biopsies at intervals ranging from every 3 months (following abnormal biopsies) to every 1-2 years (following normal biopsies) for the rest of their life. A technique called chromoendoscopy to highlight irregularities in the lining is now favoured.


If you are interested in other gastrointestinal-focused information and intervention websites developed and hosted at
Swinburne University of Technology,
please go to:

IBSclinic.org.au for individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Gastroparesisclinic.org for individuals with Gastroparesis


This website and its content is not intended or recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.

© 2014 Swinburne University of Technology | CRICOS number 00111D