Frequently Asked Questions

Is it true that taking aspirin can reduce the risk of colon cancer?

No, a recommendation has not been made by the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology about taking ASA for cancer prevention for the following reasons: 

1. The evidence of ASA reducing the risk of colon cancer is largely circumstantial. While interesting, there have been no actual trials designed to look at colon cancer reduction with ASA

2. There are hazards associated with taking ASA, including bleeding in the intestinal tract, which are typically at par with the reduction of risk of cancer. 

People may think that if they are taking ASA as a preventative measure, they may not go for standard screening which should not be missed if you are over 50, have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. Colon cancer is over 90% preventable if detected early.


Is celiac disease genetic?

The risk for developing celiac disease is increased 20 times for those who have a first degree relative with the disease.


Can celiac disease lead to more serious illnesses?

30% of celiac disease patients may develop a malignancy, therefore adhering to a gluten-free diet is critical for preventive purposes.


Can children get celiac disease?

In children, stunted growth and an inability to gain weight are important clues to diagnosis. More unusual features of celiac disease appear to be related to an altered immune system. These include a skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis, insulin-dependent diabetes, thyroid disease and underactivity of the adrenal glands.


I am anemic and have heard that I may have celiac disease. Could this be true?

Today, many patients have minor symptoms or none at all and the disease is only discovered after routine testing reveals anemia (low red blood cell count) or osteoporosis. In hindsight, many patients will realize that they have had minor symptoms that they ignored.


What causes celiac disease?

It is not known why certain people have this allergy to gluten but studies suggest that there are both genetic and environmental components. Traditionally, this disease was found to be more common in patients with northern European backgrounds, such as Ireland and Scotland. However, more recent reports suggest that celiac disease occurs in other racial and ethnic groups.


Am I going to get cancer because I have (Ulcerative Colitis) IBD?

People with IBD are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer.  Having regular endoscopies will help identify polyps that could potentially develop into cancer.


Does diet affect Ulcerative Colitis (IBD)?

Diet alone is not effective in treating Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. However, it is important that patients with IBD have a well-balanced diet. Calcium is important to protect bones. Fibre may not be tolerated during flare ups. Certain vitamins (for example, B12) may be required. Selected patients may sometimes be helped by a registered dietician.


How is Ulcerative Colitis (IBD)different than IBS?

Although both illnesses can be seriously debilitating, there are several primary differences between Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  IBD is an autoimmune disorder that causes swelling and ulcerations (sores) in the bowel.  IBS involves problems with motility (how the bowel moves contents through our intestines) and sensitivity (how the brain interprets sensations in the bowel). Symptoms of IBS may wax and wane and possibly disappear altogether whereas IBD is a chronic condition.


Am I going to get cancer because I have IBD?

People with IBD are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer.  Having regular endoscopies will help identify polyps that could potentially develop into cancer.


Enhancing lifelong health

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation believes our ability to help establish, enrich and protect a healthy gut microbiota is the key to lifelong health

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