Bowel disease 'increases melanoma risk'

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease face a greater risk of skin cancer, research suggests.

A scanning electron micrograph image of the bowel of a patient with ulcerative colitis (Photo: Steve Gschmeissner/SPL)
A scanning electron micrograph image of the bowel of a patient with ulcerative colitis (Photo: Steve Gschmeissner/SPL)

Findings presented at the Digestive Disease Week 2013 in Florida showed a 37% greater risk of melanoma in patients with the bowel condition than those without it.

Researchers analysed data from 172,837 patients with the condition from all studies on the disease over the last seven decades.

They found 179 cases of melanoma following a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease.

Study author Siddharth Singh, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, said: 'Based on this data, we are suggesting that physicians appropriately counsel inflammatory bowel disease patients about the risk of melanoma. Sun-protective measures are very effective in preventing this cancer.'

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