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Jane Anderson

Celiac Disease and Cancer: What Are Your Real Risks?

By February 4, 2014

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Today is World Cancer Day, and so it seems like a good opportunity to discuss the risk of cancer for those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Realistically, cancer probably represents the most-feared possible complication of both these conditions.

In fact, some people think they might actually have cancer before their celiac diagnoses (their symptoms are that bad). Others continue to experience digestive and other problems even while following the gluten-free diet, and worry that those problems indicate another, even more serious condition.

Recently, I wrote about refractory celiac disease -- a frightening enough diagnosis in and of itself. But refractory celiac is closely linked with a heightened risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma ... and lymphoma risks for celiacs (and possibly for those who are non-celiac gluten-sensitive) are higher than the risks in the general population.

There's some good news, though: putting aside the risk of lymphoma, overall cancer risks in people with celiac disease don't seem to be higher than normal, and in some cases may even be lower than normal.

You can read the details here:

Again, as with refractory celiac disease, you don't need to worry about it, but you should be aware of it.

Keep up with the latest in the celiac disease/gluten sensitivity world -- sign up for my newsletter, connect with me on Facebook and Google+, or follow me on Twitter - @AboutGlutenFree.

Photo Getty Images/Don Farrall

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