Researchers have found several risk factors that may increase a person's chance of developing colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
Younger adults can develop colorectal cancer, but the chances increase greatly after age 50. About 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at least 50 years old.
As many as 1 in 5 people who develop colon cancer have other family members who have had it. People with a history of colorectal cancer in first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) are at increased risk. It is even higher if that relative was diagnosed with cancer when they were younger than 45, or if more than one first-degree relative is affected.
Family history of other colon problems can also increase risk. These problems include pre-cancerous polyps and hereditary syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome.
Personal health history
Having conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or type 2 diabetes, can also increase your risk of colon cancer. If you have any of these problems, talk to your doctor about when to begin screening.
A personal history of adenomatous polyps (adenomas) also means you are at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. This is especially true if the polyps are large or if there are many of them.
Getting a colonoscopy screening is the best way to determine whether or not your polyps are cancerous.
Racial and ethnic background
African Americans have the highest colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates of all racial groups in the United States. The reasons for this are not yet understood.
Many lifestyle factors have been linked to the development of colorectal cancer. The links between diet, weight, exercise and colorectal cancer risk are some of the strongest for any type of cancer. By making small lifestyle changes, your risk for colon cancer could be drastically reduced.
Are you at risk for colon cancer? Ask our doctors right now, or call us at 800.777.7775 to schedule a preventive screening.