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Does chronic constipation signal colorectal cancer?

A new study finds no association between the symptom and developing CRC.
Chronic Constipation as a Risk Factor for Colorectal Cancer
Chronic Constipation as a Risk Factor for Colorectal Cancer

Previous studies have yielded conflicting results connecting chronic constipation with the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). Researchers Kyle Staller, Ola Olén, Jonas Söderling, Bjorn Roelstraete, Hans Törnblom, Mingyang Song and Jonas F. Ludvigsson set out to focus on this relationship and whether chronic constipation acts as a signal for CRC in a new study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology


Prolonged colon transit times may increase the contact time between potential carcinogens in the stool and the colonic mucosa. 


In a large, nationwide, case-control study accounting for 41,299 colorectal cancer cases, the researchers found no association between chronic constipation and later colorectal cancer.

Implications for clinical care

These findings may alleviate patient fears and result in cost savings by avoiding unnecessary testing in chronic constipation patients likely to undergo colonoscopy as part of their work-up for symptoms.

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