Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors: Age, Family History, etc.

Most cases of colorectal cancer risk factors develop from non-cancerous adenomatous polyps through a process called adenoma-carcinoma sequence, and the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with the increase in size.

Several epidemiological studies have indicated a number of genetic and environmental factors that can predispose to colorectal cancer.

Following is a list of risk factors:

colorectal cancer risk factors infographic
Colorectal Cancer - Risk Factors

  1. Family history: Risk of developing colorectal cancer almost doubles in an individual with a history of colorectal cancer in first-degree relatives (parents, brother, sister, or child). The risk further increases several folds for such individuals if the first-degree relative gets diagnosed with the disease at an age </=60 years.

  2. Genetic Cancer Predisposition Syndromes: Some inherited cancer predisposition syndromes have been reported to be associated with a high incidence rate of colorectal cancer.

    Following are some examples: Lynch syndrome or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC, generally caused by mutation in the MLH1 or MSH2 gene); Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP, caused by mutations in the APC gene); Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (caused by mutation in LKB1); and Juvenile polyposis (caused by germline mutations in PTEN, SMAD4, BMPR1, or other genes yet to be identified).

  3. Personal History: Individuals with a history of colorectal cancer, adenomatous polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) are generally at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.

  4. Age: Older age individuals are generally at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

  5. Lifestyle: Tobacco/cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and low physical activity have been reported to increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

  6. Diet: Consumption of red and processed meat, high-calorie diet, animal fat; and low intake of fruits and vegetables, fish, legumes, dietary fibers, and vitamins have been implicated to elevate the risk of colorectal cancer.

  7. Drugs: Use of certain drugs like aspirin, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), and bisphosphonates have been reported to decrease the incidence of colorectal cancer.

Obesity, diabetes mellitus (especially type 2 diabetes), high waist girth are some other risk factors for colorectal cancer.

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To better understand the disease, watch the video below in which CancerBro meets Mr Collin, a colon cancer patient. This will help you to understand how colon cancer presents usually and what are the risk factors associated with it.

Following video explains the various RISK FACTORS for colon cancer.

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