12:32pm Wednesday 23 October 2019

CUHK Discovers that 40% of Individuals at Risk of Coronary Heart Disease have Pre-cancerous Bowel Tumors

Bowel cancer patients and those suffer from coronary heart disease appear to share similar risk factors: male, aged over 50, with obesity, smoking habits, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. A recent study conducted by The Institute of Digestive Disease (IDD) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) discovers that 40% of coronary heart patients or individuals with multiple coronary risk factors have pre-cancerous bowel lesions (pre-cancerous bowel lesions refers to adenoma and advanced adenoma), which is 10% higher than that of healthy individuals.

Funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, IDD conducted a bowel cancer screening project from 2008 to 2012 by offering colonoscopy to 3,463 individuals aged 50 to 70 years old. Pre-cancerous bowel lesions were found in 40% of 439 patients who were at risk of coronary heart disease and 30% of 3,024 healthy individuals (Table 1). Professor Ka Leung CHAN, Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics, CUHK, said, ‘The results indicated that individuals at risk of coronary heart disease are more prone to have bowel cancer and pre-cancerous bowel lesions compared to healthy individuals.’

Colonoscopy screening is effective in reducing mortality from bowel cancer by 33%. However, patients with coronary heart disease taking anti-platelet drugs such as Plavix will need special precaution before receiving colonoscopy. Plavix, which is often prescribed for patients with coronary stents or aspirin intolerance, may raise bleeding risk during colonoscopy. However, stop taking Plavix may lead to clot formation and stent blockage.

CUHK encourages individuals with multiple coronary risk factors to receive bowel cancer screening.  It is safe for coronary heart patients on Plavix to undergo colonoscopy by experienced doctors.  The Institute of Digestive Disease at CUHK now offers colonoscopy to coronary heart patients taking Plavix. Enquiry hotline: 2632 2932 (Registration period: 22 Feb 2013 to 31 May 2013, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).


Table 1

Participants (3, 463 persons)

With adenoma

With advanced adenoma

With bowel cancer

Individuals at risk of coronary heart disease (439 persons)

145 (33.0%)

31 (7.0%)

3 (1.0%)

Healthy individuals (3,024 persons)

768 (25.4%)

122 (4.0%)

13 (0.4%)

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