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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Will my irritable bowel turn into something more serious?

    I'm a long time sufferer of IBS and am concerned it may eventuate in something more serious like colitis or bowel cancer, is this possible?
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  • Bowel Cancer Australia is the leading community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer. We … View Profile

    Thank you for your question about IBS and bowel cancer.

    Although IBS, in itself, is not a  precursor for bowel cancer - personal health history can increase your risk of developing bowel cancer, in particular a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) or if you have previously had bowel cancer (or polyps).

    As a long time sufferer of IBS it would be recommended that you talk with your GP about your bowel cancer risk and the best screening options for your individual health circumstances.

    More information on risk factors for bowel cancer is available on the Bowel Cancer Australia website at Bowel Cancer: Risk Factors -

    Kind Regards,
    The team at Bowel Cancer Australia

    Please Note: The information provided by Bowel Cancer Australia’s Nurse and Nutritionist Advisory Services is intended for Australian residents as a reference guide only.  It is not a substitute for independent professional advice and is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder.
    If you believe your symptoms are consistent with those of bowel cancer or a digestive illness, please consult your doctor.
    Bowel Cancer Australia, its directors, officers or medical professionals shall not be liable to any person, company or any other body for any loss, direct or indirect or consequential on whatsoever account for any omission or negligent misstatement.

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    Jon Gamble


    Jon is author of ‘Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ and “Obstacles to Cure: Toxicity, Deficiency & Infection” - two books for CAM practitioners. He specialises … View Profile

    There is no evidence that IBS will lead to an inflammatory disease, like ulcerative colitis or Crohns Disease, nor that it will lead to colon cancer. However, I have certainly seen cases that have been misdiagnosed as IBS, which are in fact an inflammatory illness. So if you have had a colonoscopy and those more serious diseases have been ruled out, you can relax about going on to develop something more serious.

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