Prostate Cancer Linked with Precancerous Colon Polyps
Men with prostate cancer should have routine screening colonoscopies, experts say.
Research shows that men diagnosed with prostate cancer had significantly more abnormal colon polyps, known as adenomas, and advanced adenomas than men without prostate cancer.
Results of the research were presented at an American College of Gastroenterology meeting.
"Our study is the first to show that men with prostate cancer are at increased risk of developing colon cancer, and that it is especially important for these men not skip their routine colonoscopies," says gastroenterologist Ognian Pomakov, M.D., of the University of Buffalo and an author of the study.
Abnormal polyp rate higher
Although most adenomas are benign and don't become cancerous, evidence exists that most colon cancers begin as adenomas. Advanced adenomas carry an even higher risk for colorectal cancer.
"Colon cancer and prostate cancer are two of the most common cancers in males," says Dr. Pomakov. "However there are no published clinical studies to date that determined the prevalence of colorectal neoplasms in people with prostate cancer."
The study involved 2,011 men who had colonoscopies at the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The researchers reviewed patient records, colonoscopy reports, and pathology reports.
They also looked at data on the prevalence of adenomas, advanced adenomas, cancerous adenomas, and their location within the colon.
The study compared the colonoscopy findings of 188 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer with the findings of the rest of the patients, who served as a control group.
Results show that prostate cancer patients had significantly higher prevalence of abnormal polyps and advanced adenomas, compared with the other participants.
Forty-eight percent of prostate cancer patients had adenomas, compared with 30.8 percent of controls, and 15.4 percent had advanced adenomas, compared with 10 percent of the men without prostate cancer.
Timing screenings after prostate cancer
"Our study findings suggest that patients with prostate cancer should definitely get their screening colonoscopy on time," says Dr. Pamakov. "In light of the limited resources of health care systems, a priority should be given to such patients for colonoscopy screening.”
He also suggests that further studies should determine if screening for colorectal cancer should begin earlier than the currently recommended age of 50 for men with prostate cancer.
Talk with your health care provider for more information
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Facts on Prostate Cancer and Colorectal Cancer
The fear of having prostate cancer can be devastating to men. However, it is treated most successfully when found early. Consider these statistics from the American Cancer Society (ACS):
• 91 percent of all prostate cancers are discovered while they are either confined to the prostate or near the prostate. The five-year survival rate for men diagnosed with prostate tumors discovered at these stages is 99 percent.
• In the last 20 years, the five-year survival rate for all stages of prostate cancer combined has increased from 67 percent to 99 percent.
• Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, excluding skin cancer.
• In 2010, 217,730 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S.
• In 2010, 32,050 men will die from prostate cancer in the U.S. alone, making it the second leading cause of cancer death in men.
Colorectal cancer is malignant cells found in the colon or rectum. The colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine, which is part of the digestive system.
Because colon cancer and rectum cancers have many features in common, they are sometimes referred to together as colorectal cancer. Cancerous tumors found in the colon or rectum also may spread to other parts of the body.
Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women.
The ACS estimates that 142,570 colorectal cancer cases are expected in 2010. The number of deaths from colorectal cancer has decreased because of increased screening and polyp removal.
Always talk with your doctor for more information.