Tommy was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), at age 9. His case was severe and, as parents, we were given an option to have either Humira or Mercaptopurine (6MP) prescribed to manage and hold his disease in remission. Both options had potential risks of cancer. At that time, we were offered no other solutions which could benefit our 9 year old son.
We chose 6MP, due to the studies that, at the time, showed Humira to be more risky. Tommy died because of our decision and the lack of any form of guidance from our doctors on alternatives. They knew. We didn't.
Learn more about Crohn's Disease below, paying particular attention to those drugs which hold the highest risk for cancer related side effects.
Crohn's Disease (CD) is a chronic and incurable autoimmune disorder. CD and ulcerative colitis are included in a group know as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and affects more than 1.6 million people in the United States.
CD causes inflammation of the digestive system, or gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). The disease can occur at any age in a person’s life, however, CD is most often diagnosed in young adults between the ages of 20 and 30 years of age.
The life long disease can affect any part of the GI tract including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. However, sufferers most frequently experience inflammation in the end of the small intestine and large intestine.
Common symptoms of Crohn’s Disease include abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, blood in the stool, and mouth sores. Other signs and symptoms include inflammation of the skin, eyes, and joints. A delay in growth and sexual development has also been widely seen among Crohn’s Disease sufferers .
Inflammation from Crohn's Disease occurs due to a malfunction in the immune system’s response to bacteria and microorganisms that cyclically attacks the digestive tract.
Still a little unclear on the complexities of Crohn's Disease? Check out this great informational video made by Animated IBD Patient that breaks down the symptoms and treatments for the illness.
From what we know, Crohn's disease is more prevalent in the US than in most other countries. Most Crohn's patients develop this disease at a more mature age than was Tommy, although in many cases, heredity does play a role.
In Tommy's case, we believe he was more susceptible to contracting Crohn's Disease due to antibiotics he received when he was operated on at age 3 months. We believe his immune system was compromised allowing him to contract Crohn's Disease at the young age of 9.
It was at age 9, Tommy was administered 6MP to treat his more severe case of Crohn's Disease.
Race and ethnical characteristics have little influence over the likelihood of obtaining CD as immigrants in countries with high incidence rates also experience CD with a similar rate as natives.
Countries with a high incidence and prevalence of CD also experience high rates of fast food consumption and a considerable lack of sunlight throughout the year demonstrating that lack of Vitamin D may play a role.
Environmental factors that show a correlation between the instances of Crohn’s Disease include:
Crohn’s Disease (CD) is most prevalent in countries that have experienced a great amount of industrialization in recent history. Several studies show a high incidence and prevalence of CD in western countries such as USA, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Scandinavia, and Western Europe. On the contrary, CD is uncommon in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, however the number of cases of CD in these countries is increasing as these nations become more industrialized.