Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer
In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer; more than 50,000 people will die of this disease. Colorectal cancer almost always starts with a polyp, so doctors recommend regular screening tests to help find polyps before they become cancerous. Most people who have polyps removed never get cancer, but, if colorectal cancer is found early, you have a good chance of beating it with treatment. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include: Age: Most colorectal cancers occur in men and women over the age of 50. Race/ethnicity: African-Americans have a greater risk of colorectal cancers. Personal/family history: If you have diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease, you are at increased risk. A prior history of polyps also increases risk. Having one or more close family relatives with colorectal cancer increases risk, too. This may or may not be a genetic link, so talk to your health care provider about your profile. Lifestyle choices: Obesity, diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol can increase risk.
Personal history. Research shows that women who have a history of ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer have a somewhat higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. A person who already has had colorectal cancer may develop the disease a second time, especially if the first disease was diagnosed before the age of 60. In addition, people who have chronic inflammatory conditions of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease , are at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. Family history. Parents, siblings, and children of a person who has had colorectal cancer are more likely to develop colorectal cancer themselves. If two or more family members have had colorectal cancer, the risk increases to about 20%.A family history of familial adenomatous polyposis, MYH associated polyposis, or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer, (HNPCC), increases the risk of colon cancer development. HNPCC also increases the risk for other cancers . Diet. A diet high in fat and cholesterol and low in fiber has been linked to a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer. Lifestyle factors. You may be at increased risk for developing colorectal cancer if you drink alcohol, smoke, don’t get enough exercise, and if you are overweight.