Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients are at an increased risk of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, say scientists. More than 1.5 million Americans have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis (UC), the most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease. Both conditions inflame the lining of the intestine, leading to bouts of watery diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps and pain, fever and weight loss.
"Based on this data, we are suggesting that physicians appropriately counsel IBD patients about the risk of melanoma. Sun-protective measures are very effective in preventing this cancer," says study author Siddharth Singh, M.B.B.S, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist.
Researchers determined this increased risk by performing a comprehensive search of all published studies on IBD over the last seven decades. They analyzed 172,837 patients with IBD (92,208 with Crohn's disease; 79,360 with UC) to find the 179 cases of melanoma after an IBD diagnosis.