Appendectomies Are Linked With Colon Cancer

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Researchers in Taiwan have examined the medical records of a large group of Taiwanese patients and discovered that cancer incidence rate was 14% higher in patients who had previously undergone appendectomies. Hundreds of thousands of patients between 1997 and 1999 were studied.

Recently more weight is given to the idea that the vermiform appendix is not just a vestigial part of our digestive system, but crucial in maintaining healthy levels of beneficial bacteria, acting as a protective reservoir. Removing the appendix may affect the biofilm in the large intestine in a negative way. Appendectomies are also associated with an almost two-fold increased risk of Crohn's disease. However, risk of ulcerative colitis is actually lower.

As for this study, the results describe an average 14% higher risk of cancer after the patient has received an appendectomy. Men and elderly people are affected more and the risk of getting cancer is lower after 3.5 years post-surgery. Rectal cancer had the highest increase in risk, while cecum and ascending colon cancer had the lowest increase in risk. Further studies are needed to understand exactly if and how appendectomies increase risk.

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