Can hernia cause cancer

Can a Hernia Cause Cancer

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Hernia and cancer are a highly uncommon duo. A cancer may resemble a hernia because of the bulging. Yet, there is no direct relationship between the hernia and cancer.

Hernia specialists usually suggest a thorough hernia diagnosis before hernia repair. A hernia would be more flexible than a cancer tumor and can be identified through proper imaging tests.

There have been no conclusive reports on hernia causing cancer and you can always approach your hernia surgeon if you encounter any signs of cancer around your hernia region.

Will Hernia Cause Cancer ?

Hernia resulting in cancer is a rare possibility. A hernia and cancer may however coexist like when a pre-existing tumor may protrude through a weakened muscle wall and get trapped inside a hernia sac.

An infected and misused hernia repair mesh may also result in the inflammation of the cells and subsequently in cancer. Thus, there is no direct relationship found between hernia and cancer.

Rare Scenarios Linking Hernias and Cancer

In rare circumstances, there could be found the coexistence of cancer with hernia. An abdominal cancer may imitate an abdominal hernia by pushing through the weak muscles of the abdominal wall.

Another possibility of cancer due to hernia arises because of an infected or misused hernia repair mesh. An infected hernia repair mesh causes a kind of skin cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) and must be treated with priority.

There has also been found a little possibility of inguinal hernia repair surgery resulting in testicular cancer in men.

Misdiagnosing Hernia for Cancer

There is a rare possibility of misdiagnosing hernia for cancer, especially in the abdomen region. Abdominal cancers may cause bulging similar to a hernia and share symptoms. This often leads to the misdiagnosis of a hernia with cancer.

Undertaking a thorough physical examination and multiple imaging tests like MRI, CT scan, and so on to diagnose the medical condition is therefore highly required.

Inguinal Hernia Repair and Testicular Cancer

There is a smaller chance for the occurrence of testicular cancer when inguinal hernia repair is done after childhood in men. The reason behind this occurrence is still unconcluded. However, there has been a possibility for testicular cancer on the same side of the inguinal hernia repair in men.

Does Incisional Hernia Development Affect Cancer Prognosis?

There is no direct relationship between incisional hernia development and its effect on cancer prognosis. Factors such as obesity and smoking, on the other hand, can pose a risk to both incisional hernia and cancer.

Incisions done during cancer treatment surgery may result in an incisional hernia. However, there is no concrete evidence of the association between cancer and incisional hernia development.

Can Hernia Meshes Cause Cancer?

Hernia meshes are typically made with non-carcinogenic materials and do not directly cause cancer. A long-term infected hernia mesh though can result in a kind of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

The long-term irritation of the infected mesh can result in inflammation of the tissues and eventually in squamous cell carcinoma.

Always consult with your hernia specialist if you encounter any symptoms of cancer around the hernia repair area or any sense of mesh infection. Taking precautionary initiatives can help prevent any unfortunate illnesses.


The possibility of hernia causing cancer is highly uncommon. Nevertheless, there may be indirect effects of hernia repair methods on the occurrence of cancer.

A cancer may mimic a hernia at times and get entrapped in a hernia sac. Factors such as smoking and obesity may also result in the coexistence of cancer and hernia due to weakened muscle walls. Still, the possibility of cancer due to hernia is too small.

If you have any concerns about your hernia causing cancer or if you experience any cancer-related symptoms around your hernia-repaired region, consult a hernia specialist.


Can hernia mesh repair increase the risk of cancer?

There is no association between hernia and the occurrence of cancer. However, a long-term infected hernia mesh can lead to an increased risk of cancer.

How can I reduce my risk of cancer if I have a hernia mesh?

You can use medically verified mesh and replace it when it shows signs of infection as soon as possible. You can take regular checkups and share your concerns with your healthcare provider if you sense any signs of mesh infection.

What should I do if I have concerns about cancer and my hernia?

Consult a doctor and undertake a physical examination in case you are worried that your hernia might be leading to cancer. Also, you can report to your healthcare provider if you experience any cancer symptoms such as fatigue, weight changes, persistent cough, and so on.

Dr. K. Amilthan MBBS., MS., FMAS., FALS.

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Dr. Amilthan
Dr. Amilthan

Dr. Amilthan is a renowned laparoscopic hernia surgeon based in Chennai, with over 20 years of experience in general surgery. He completed his MBBS and MS in General Surgery at Kilpauk Medical College and Government Royapettah Hospital in Chennai.

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