Here’s one thing we know about colorectal cancer: It’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among cancers that affect both men and women.
And although doctors and scientists don’t exactly know what causes colorectal cancer, a number of factors are thought to increase your chance of developing it. Knowing what those risks are can go a long way in giving you the knowledge you need to actually prevent colon or rectal cancer.
What are the Risk Factors?
- Advancing age, especially age 50 or older
- Having inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- A family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
- A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer
- Lack of regular physical activity
- Low fruit and vegetable intake
- A low-fiber and high-fat diet
- Being overweight or obese
- High alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
- Having Type 2 diabetes
The good news? Not all people who are at risk for colorectal cancer will actually develop cancer. That makes it even more important to ask your healthcare provider to help you get in the habit of regular screenings that will help protect against colorectal cancer.
*Sources: CDC.gov, Cancer.gov, Cancer.org