Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at increased risk for developing cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, particularly colorectal cancer. Because of the relative rarity of IBD in the general population, it has been difficult to quantify this risk. Efforts to reduce the risk have included both prophylactic surgery and endoscopic screening programs. Because of the potential impact on quality of life and life expectancy, the optimal strategy for reducing this risk has not been defined. This article reviews the current literature relating to the risk of cancer for patients with IBD and methods to reduce this risk.