Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Part 1: What are the Risk Factors?
This year, more than 145,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon or rectum – colorectal cancer – and more than 50,000 will die of the disease. Despite these alarming statistics, colorectal cancer is preventable and treatable, with risk modification, proper screening, early detection, and effective therapy.
Listed below are several factors that researchers have found might increase a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer. To better understand how these risk factors, and potentially others, may apply to you, talk with your doctor. You can also visit Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors from the American Cancer Society to learn more.
Lifestyle-related factors are those that you can change, such as diet and weight. Some of the strongest lifestyle-related factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer include the following:
A diet low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
A diet high in red meats (such as beef, lamb or pork) or processed meats (such as bacon, cold cuts or sausage).
Lack of regular exercise or physical activity.
Being overweight or obese, especially carrying excess fat around your waist.
Excessive or heavy alcohol use.
Smoking or using tobacco products.
In addition to these lifestyle-related factors, there are other risk factors for colorectal cancer that you cannot change, but you should be aware of and discuss with your doctor. Consider the following factors when assessing your risk for colorectal cancer, together with your doctor.
Age > 50 years.
Having a personal or family history of adenomatous polyps or colorectal cancer, including a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).
Having a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
In closing, having a risk factor, or even many, does not mean that you will get colorectal cancer. Besides, some people who get the disease may not have any known risk factors. What’s important is that you recognize the risk factors for getting colorectal cancer and discuss them with your doctor, sooner rather than later.
Share because you care! Share this blog with your family members and friends. Let us (Biophilia Partners) know how you’re controlling your risk factors for colorectal cancer. Comment below.