Risk & Health Factors
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Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer
Age: Over 90% of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are older than 50.
Personal history of colorectal cancer: If you have had a prior diagnosis of colorectal cancer, even it has been successfully treated, you are more likely to develop a new colorectal. The risk increases if your 1st diagnosis was when you were 60 or younger.
Personal history of colorectal polyps: If you have had a polyp in your colon, particularly of the adenomatous type, you are at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. The risk increases if you have a lot of polyps or if any polyp is large.
Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease: If you have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, you are at increased risk for colon cancer. The longer you have had IBD, particularly for more than 8 years, the higher your risk. You are not at increased risk if you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Family history of colorectal cancer: If you have a 1st degree relative (a parent, sibling or child) who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer or an adenomatous polyp before the age of 60 or you have 2 or more 1st degree relatives of any age diagnosed with colorectal cancer or an adenomatous polyp, you are at increased risk for colorectal cancer. About 15% of people who develop colorectal cancer will have family members with colorectal cancer.
Inherited diseases: An inherited genetic susceptibility occurs in about 3% to 5% of people who develop colorectal cancer. There are two common types of inherited colorectal cancer:
Ethnic background: There is an increased risk if you are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (genetic mutations that do not fully explain the risk - only about 6% of American Jews have these).
Race: You are at increased risk if you are Alaska Native or Northern Plains in comparison to all other races and all other Native Americans.
Diet/Nutrition: If you have a diet high in animal fats, you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer.
Physical inactivity: If you are not physically active, you have an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
Alcohol intake: If you have heavy alcohol consumption, you are at increased risk.
Increased risk and increased mortality:
This page was created and is maintained by Rick Clark · · Last update: Thursday, 21 January 2016 ©2016 NACR