Celiac Disease and Cancer
What Types of Cancer are Associated with Celiac Disease?
There are 3 types of cancer associated with celiac disease: enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma (EATL), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and adenocarcinoma of the small intestine. It is important to remember, however, that developing cancer due to celiac disease is quite rare. The vast majority of those with celiac disease will never develop these related cancers. Symptoms of these cancers may include weight loss, abdominal pain, enlarged lymph nodes, fatigue, and fever. The risk of cancer varies in those with celiac disease; those who have had more intestinal healing appear to be at lower risk than those who continue to have persistent damage.
What is the Connection between Cancer and Celiac Disease?
- Past studies have shown that the risk of lymphoma is slightly higher in people with celiac disease than the rest of the population
- Following a strict gluten-free diet to help promote intestinal healing can lower the risk
- Patients who are older at the time of diagnosis may be at increased risk because the intestine may heal more slowly
- The risk of developing cancer may increase if a person with celiac disease has remained undiagnosed for a long period of time
Where Can I Learn More?
Do you or a family member suffer from cancer? You may have celiac disease. Find out now. Take our Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist.