What are the risk factors for developing colon cancer?
Risk factors for colon cancer can be related to several elements.
- Older age: The majority of the people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are older than 50. That being said, it can occur at a younger age, but is less frequent.
- African-American race: African Americans are at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than other races.
- History of colorectal cancer or polyps: If you already had colorectal cancer or polyps, there is a higher chance you will develop colorectal cancer in the future.
- Family history of colorectal cancer: If someone in your family has colorectal cancer, you are more likely to develop it as well.
- Diet: diets high in fat, and low in fiber have been associated with colorectal cancer. Some studies have found that diets high in red meat also lead to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
- Lack of physical activity: Being inactive can increase the chances of developing colorectal cancer. Try to get regular physical activity so as to reduce your risk.
- Obesity: people who are overweight and obese have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Smoking: Smoking increases the chances of developing colorectal cancer.
- Alcohol: Heavy drinking can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Exposure to radiation: If you have received radiation therapy as a form of treatment for previous cancers, you have a slightly higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Diabetes: People with Type 2 diabetes may have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Chronic inflammatory disease: Certain inflammatory diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Certain inherited syndromes can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Some of these are familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). Other syndromes that increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer include Lynch Syndrome, Turcot Syndrome and Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome.
Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and discussing them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.