Chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can cause dysplasia, changes in the cells that line your colon that can lead to cancer, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCF).
Your colon cancer risk starts to increase once you’ve lived with ulcerative colitis for eight to 10 years. What’s more, the longer you have the condition, the higher it climbs.
“It could be as high as 20 percent if you have the disease for 30 years,” says gastroenterologist Adam Ehrlich, M.D., co-medical director of the inflammatory bowel disease program at Temple University in Philadelphia. “And most people are diagnosed fairly young.”
The median age of diagnosis is 34.9, according to CCF.