Q. Can diverticulitis lead to colon cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 28, 2017 and last reviewed on: Aug 22, 2022

Hello doctor,

I have been having lower left pelvic pain, so I got a CT scan of the abdomen done. I was diagnosed with mild diverticulitis and diverticulosis. The doctor gave me Flagyl and Cipro. Is it serious? Can this lead to colon cancer? I am very scared. How can you tell that it is diverticulitis and not cancer? Also, I am on Metformin and had the CT with contrast, will this shut down my kidneys? Do I need to have my creatinine level rechecked?



Welcome to

Do not worry, diverticulum is a common condition, and most patients remain asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. The risk associated with this condition are diverticulitis, which is an infection of the diverticulum pouch, and risk of bleeding. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of people with uncomplicated diverticulitis, which is your case, will respond to medical treatment, while about 20 to 25 percent of patients may require surgery. After successful treatment of the first attack of diverticulitis, one-third of patients will remain asymptomatic, one-third will have episodic cramps without diverticulitis, and one-third will go on to have a second attack of diverticulitis, which will need another course of antibiotics or surgery.

Studies have found that therisk of cancer with this condition is minimal. CT scan can differentiate between cancer and diverticulitis. You should visit a gastroenterologist for colonoscopy after this attack is over. There is slightly increased risk for kidney injury in diabetic patients, which usually develop after 24 to 48 hours of contrast administration. It may lead to decreased urine output if severe. Probably, you have not developed a contrast-induced nephropathy. No need to recheck creatinine, especially if baseline creatinine is normal, as risk is slight.

I suggest you to drink plenty of water and avoid red meat. Prompt treatment with antibiotics is needed to avoid complications. So do not worry and focus on the healthy lifestyle, to prevent recurrences.

Hope this helps you and get back if you have any doubts.

Hello doctor,

Thank you for clearing my doubts.

I have had several hemoccult stool tests over the last year, and all were negative. I also had a FIT stool test, which was also negative. I am scared to get a colonoscopy, and I do not want to have one if there is no need. Do I need a colonoscopy? Do people that have this condition need a colonoscopy?



Welcome back to

It is a good thing that you do not have any bleeding in the stool. Colonoscopy is not mandatory, but advisable because we need to see the extent of disease and rule out the possibility of cancer. So, be strong and undergo it. It will be done under mild sedation, and you will not feel much pain during the procedure. Patients with diverticulitis usually undergo colonoscopy, and this condition will remain throughout your life but can be kept under control. Diverticulosis is nothing butoutpouching of the colon, which recurrently gets infected due to constipation and stagnation of stools. If it gets infected, it is called diverticulitis.


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