Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can appendicitis be a sign of cancer?"
I am a 29 year old woman who has just had her appendix removed. I'm worried my appendicitis can be a sign of cancer. Maybe not now, but maybe I'm more likely to get it in the future. Is there a link between the two?
Appendicitis is a common problem that will affect many people in your age group, the majority of whom will never have problems with cancer in the future, or at least not have cancer related to their appendix. The cause of appendicitis is often the development of some obstruction at the outlet of the appendix, which is a small blind pocket of intestine that only has one way in and out. When this common pathway becomes blocked, the bacteria that are present in all of our intestines can multiply and cause local inflammation. While there are things such as cancer that can cause bowel obstruction, the majority of cases in young, otherwise healthy people have nothing to do with cancer. To my knowledge, there is no later link between people who have had their appendix removed and an increased risk of cancer later in life. Again, the two are not related in any way for most young people who have uncomplicated appendicitis. If you continue to have concerns, this would be an excellent thing to discuss with your surgeon when you follow up with him or her after the surgery. Additionally, your primary care doctor will be able to help with other long term concerns by performing routine preventive health care.
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