More than 147,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) in the U.S. annually, and nearly one-third of those diagnosed lose their lives, reports the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Unfortunately, those who are currently living with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease are more likely to develop CRC. However, ileostomy alternatives, including a Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir (BCIR) may be able to reduce this risk.
Every flare up of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis causes additional damage to the colon. In some cases, medication treatment does not effectively manage the symptoms of Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, and with repeat flare ups, the risk of developing CRC increases. As a result, your physician may recommend a temporary or permanent ileostomy to give the colon a chance to heal, reports the American Cancer Society. Furthermore, ileostomy alternatives do not have to be as visible or life-impacting as a traditional ileostomy.
The signs and symptoms of CRC are difficult to identify in those with digestive diseases. For example, rectal bleeding, excessive diarrhea, unusual weight loss and fatigue are symptoms of CRC and ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s. As a result, those with these diseases should have a colonoscopy every other year for the first decade after diagnosis to check for CRC. But, those who have had a total colectomy (removal of the colon) and are living with a permanent ostomy may have a higher quality of life with a BCIR.
Living with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis can be challenging, and the associated risks for developing CRC can destroy quality of life. However, temporary ileostomy alternatives, such as the BCIR or Kock pouch, can help reduce symptoms and risk for CRC, and you can get your quality of life back. To learn more about the BCIR, contact Dr. Don Schiller at the Center for Ileostomy Surgery at Olympia Medical Center online or by calling 1 (323) 472-9931.