5 Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer
There are a number of traits and conditions known as risk factors that can increase your risk for developing colorectal cancer. Having a risk factor does not guarantee you will develop cancer of the colon and the absence of any risk factors does not ensure that you will not develop cancer of the colon. However, knowledge of these risk factors and discussing them with your doctor or health care provider can lead to the prevention or early diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
1. Age. People age 50 and older have a greater risk for developing colorectal cancer.
2. Family History. A history of cancer of the colon or rectum among family members (primarily mother, father, sisters or brothers) will increase your risk for developing colorectal cancer. Other hereditary conditions like hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (also called HNPCC or Lynch Syndrome) and familial adenomatous polyposis can increase your risk for developing cancer.
3. Chronic conditions. A personal history of chronic conditions such as Chron’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis can increase your risk for developing cancer.
4. Polyps. A personal history of polyps (or small clusters of tissue bulging into the opening of the colon) can be an early sign of colorectal cancer.
5. Previous bout with cancer. A personal history of cancer of the colon, rectum, ovary, endometrium (lining of the uterus) or breast can also make you more susceptible to a recurring diagnosis of cancer.
Discussing your family and previous medical history with your doctor is essential. They use this information to appropriately assess your risk for colorectal cancer and determine the appropriate lab tests and screening procedures to prevent cancer or diagnose it as early as possible.Source: Colon Cancer Treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. National Institutes of Health.