A new study (presented at the American College of Gastroenterology conference, in October 2010) reviewed the records of 2,000 men who underwent routine colonoscopies at the Buffalo VA Medical Center, and identified 188 men who also had a history of prostate cancer. The authors reported that the men who had a history of prostate cancer had a significantly higher risk of having precancerous colon polyps (48%) compared to those men without a prior history of prostate cancer (30.8%).
Even more concerning was that in men with a prior history of prostate cancer, 15.4% had advanced polyps compared to 10% of the men without prostate cancer.
This study highlights the continued importance of undergoing routine screening colonoscopies after a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and perhaps suggests that men under the age of 50 with a diagnosis of prostate cancer should begin early colon cancer screening.
Although the majority of precancerous colon polyps will never develop into a colon cancer, it is well-recognized that a minority of them will develop into cancer. Screening colonoscopies and prophylactic polyp removal has been proven in decrease the risk of dying from colon cancer, the fourth most common cancer in men (after skin, prostate, and lung cancers.)
If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer…get your screening colonoscopies!