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Who Is At Risk of Developing Colon Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is ranked as third in causing cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. It is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. Colon cancer and rectal cancer are grouped because they have common features such as having polyps on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended from age 50 for people who are not at increased risk. But for those with a family history of colorectal cancer, it is advisable to start screening at a younger age.

Below are risk factors for colorectal cancer.

  • Diet – Diets with highly processed foods and red meats such as lamb, beef, and hot dogs may increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Grilling, frying, boiling or cooking meats at extremely high temperatures create chemicals that may contribute to the increased risk. However, diets rich in vegetables, fruits, and high fiber content may help reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Smoking – Cigarettes have cancer-causing substances that when swallowed will potentially increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Age – Studies have revealed that older people from age 50 are more at risk of developing colorectal cancer than the younger ones. Nearly 95% of all colorectal cancers occur in patients 50 years or older.
  • History – A person who has had colorectal cancer before is more likely to develop it again in other parts of the colon and rectum. Also, if you have had a history of inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, the risk of colorectal cancer is increased.

Some of the risk factors for colorectal cancer such as age and genetics cannot be avoided. But others like smoking, diet, obesity and other lifestyle choices can easily be addressed to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer significantly. It is advisable to talk to a doctor and get a stool test or a colonoscopy, which will help to diagnose the disease and get treatment early enough.


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