Curbside Consultation of the Colon: 49 Clinical Questions

Brooks D. Cash, MD, FACP, CDR, MC, USN

Question 14: What Do I Tell My Primary Care Colleagues About Chronic Constipation And The Risk Of Colorectal Cancer? (continued)

Erica Roberson, MD; Arnold Wald, MD

Chronic constipation has been shown to be a small, albeit significant, risk for colon cancer.1,2 Although poorly understood, this may have to do with increased concentration and colon residence of presumed carcinogens. Several studies have evaluated the possible link between colon cancer and chronic constipation and laxative use with conflicting conclusions. A recent meta-analysis of 14 case-control studies concluded that constipation and the use of cathartics is associated with an increased risk of developing colon cancer with pooled odds ratios of 1.48 (1.32 to 1.66) and 1.46 (1.33 to…