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Minerva Chirurgica 2001 February;56(1):47-54

language: Italian

Association between breast and colorectal cancer and polyps. Screening and epidemiological study

Amanti C., Regolo L., Pucciatti I., Chiarot M., Lo Russo M., Mancini M. A., D'Ambra G., Paoletti M., Covotta A., Bertolotti A.


Background. Studies regarding the associations between different types of cancer in the same patient are very few and not always come to the same conclusions. Several hypothesis are suggested and particularly genetic and socioeconomical ones seem to offer an interpretation of this issue. Early detection of a second neoplasm allows to improve prognosis and survival. The knowledge of correlations between tumors help to select a population, with a high risk to develop a second cancer, to be included in a screening program. Nowadays thanks to early detection of breast cancer, ten years survival is more than 75%. Women who had breast cancer now live longer and so could have a higher risk to develop a second cancer.
Methods. From September 1998 to September 1999 in our Department 71 patients operated for breast cancer, underwent screening colonscopy. No patients refused to be included in the study. Mean age was 61 years (range 36-87). Each patient had a clinician interview in order to explain the goals of the study.
Results. Results show that among all patients 3 (4.2%) presented a history of colon cancer, 18.3% (13 cases) presented large bowel polyps. In 84.6% patients (11 cases) polyps were found not over 40 cm. This study shows that 93% of patients (66 cases) had a relative with cancer history.
Conclusions. Our results compared with those of other authors seem to show an increased risk for breast cancer patients in developing polyps or colon cancer, so we suggest to insert sigmoidoscopy in standard follow-up of breast cancer patients.

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