Colon cancer risk factors

Are you worried about colon cancer risk factors? If you are, you’re not alone. Colon cancer is very common. It’s one of the top three cancers; nearly 100,000 people are diagnosed yearly. While anyone can get colon cancer, certain factors can increase your risk. Knowing these risk factors can help you be more proactive about your health. And, it can potentially help you lower your risk of developing this disease! First, you need to know about the significant colon cancer risk factors.

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Family history of colon cancer

Does your family have a history of colon cancer? If so, that’s a significant risk factor when considering your risk. Having multiple close relatives (such as a parent or sibling) with colon cancer can double or even triple your chances. If you have any concerns about family history, discuss this with your doctor. Together you can explore methods for early detection and prevention. Early screening tests may detect colon cancer before symptoms even begin, increasing your chance of successful treatment. In addition, preventative measures and lifestyle changes can be taken to reduce the risk. However, making these changes early on will ensure the best chances of avoiding colon cancer later in life.

Personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps

Those with a history of colorectal cancer or polyps are at higher risk of colon cancer. If you’ve had either of these cancers in the past, a doctor may recommend regular screenings to make sure cancer has not reappeared. Doctors also suggest a healthy diet and regular exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight can lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Research your lineage to understand any inherited risks you might have with colorectal cancer.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) increases the risk of developing colon cancer. This is due to several factors:

  • Recurrent inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Genetic variants
  • Gene-environment interactions
  • Smoking
  • The extent of the disease

People suffering from IBD and its related ailments must be extra vigilant. If you have IBD you must get screened regularly for any precursors of colon cancer. Early detection can be the key to successful treatments. It also offers peace of mind that cancer is not present or likely to appear anytime soon. Screening methods are becoming more sophisticated daily, so don’t delay. It is never too late or premature to protect yourself from the unfriendly effects of IBD.

Older age

Age is a risk factor for colon cancer. The body is more susceptible to changes in lifestyle as you age and diet, and other environmental factors can increase one’s chances of developing the disease. As a result, those over age 50 need to monitor their colon health and ensure they are regularly tested for the disease. In addition, taking preventative measures such as eating a healthy diet low in red meat and rich in fiber, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking can help reduce your chances of getting colon cancer.

African-American race

African-American race is a significant risk factors for colon cancer. Studies show that compared to other races, African Americans are 20% more likely to develop colon cancer. They are also 40% more likely to present at an advanced stage of the disease. Furthermore, for African Americans living in the south, colon cancer mortality rates are higher than average. This also increases risk. Those with an African-American race heritage should understand colon cancer risks. If this is you, please get regular preventive screenings.

Male gender

Men are at a higher risk for colon cancer compared to women. Men have a 1 in 24 risks of developing colon cancer, whereas women only have a 1 in 29 chance. This difference has been attributed to lifestyle choices, environmental factors, and genetic inheritance; however, the cause remains unknown. In addition, data from various studies show that men diagnosed with colon cancer face a higher mortality rate than women. Understanding the associated risks can help men and women take preventive measures against this type of cancer to keep themselves healthy.

Protective factors for reducing the risk of colon cancer

Many lifestyle choices can serve as protective factors for reducing the risk of colon cancer. Those include: 

  1. Eating a healthy diet with adequate fiber
  2. Limiting red and processed meats
  3. Maintaining a healthy weight
  4. Getting regular physical activity
  5. Avoiding smoking
  6. Keeping alcohol consumption moderate (1-2 drinks per day)
  7. Being screened regularly for colon cancer
  8. Dietary supplements such as calcium, vitamin D, and folic acid 
  9. An active lifestyle 
  10. Knowing your family history

However, it is essential to remember that no lifestyle changes can guarantee you will never develop colon cancer. Ultimately, speaking with your doctor about the best ways to protect yourself from this dangerous form of cancer is essential. They can help you develop a personalized plan to reduce your risk and discuss any additional steps you may need to take to remain healthy and cancer-free.

Knowledge is power 

Knowing the risk factors associated with colon cancer is critical to minimizing your chances of developing it. Family history, personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, age, gender, and race can all impact your likelihood of colon cancer. You should stay informed and be aware of your history and health risks. Regular screenings can also help detect polyps early on before they become cancerous. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and limiting smoking and alcohol consumption will also decrease the risk of getting the disease. Finally, being proactive about caring for your colon health will help ensure early detection or prevention.



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