Men with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are four to five times at higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to researchers including one of Indian-origin. IBD is inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract and is a common chronic condition that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The findings showed that men with IBD have higher than average prostate-specific antigen (PSA)—a substance produced by the prostate gland.
Elevated PSA levels may indicate prostate cancer — a non-cancerous condition such as prostatitis, or an enlarged prostate.
“These patients may need to be screened more carefully than a man without inflammatory bowel disease,” said Shilajit Kundu, Associate Professor from Northwestern University in the US. “If a man with inflammatory bowel disease has an elevated PSA, it may be an indicator of prostate cancer,” Kundu added.
However, many people think their PSA is elevated just because they have an inflammatory condition.
For the study, published in the journal European Urology, the team looked at 1,033 men with IBD and a control group of 9,306 men without the disease. A previous study led by researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed that children who developed IBD before the age of 18 have a three to five-fold higher mortality rate than people without IBD, both during childhood and into adulthood.
This translates into a 2.2-year reduction in life expectancy in individuals monitored up to the age of 65, the findings suggested. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), prostate cancer is the second leading cancer among males in large Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram, and third in cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai.
The ICMR projection data shows that the number of cases will double by 2020. Early detection and a healthy lifestyle can prevent the cancer, the researchers said.