Understanding the Cancer Risks Associated with IBD Medications

Understanding the Cancer Risks Associated with IBD Medications
A topic that has arisen lately in the Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis community is the risk of some types of cancers due to the medications that we take. Most medications taken by those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) do not present an increased risk of cancer, but some exceptions may exist. Studies suggest that biologics and thiopurines may carry an increased risk of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer and lymphoma.

Biologics and thiopurine medications

Many types of immunosuppressant medications, which are used to treat several autoimmune conditions, are available. In this column, I will discuss biologic and thiopurine medications. High levels of a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) are associated with inflammation in the digestive systems of those with Crohn's disease. Biologic medications, or anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapies, target those proteins and prevent them from attacking organs. Biologics are an effective treatment for moderate to severe Crohn’s disease
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