Many factors may influence the development of colon cancer, including:
- Age: Colon cancer is most common in people over 50.
- Family history: Your risk is higher with a family history (especially parent, sibling) of colon cancer or adenomatous polyps.
- Personal history: Your risk is higher with a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or colitis), colon cancer or adenomatous polyps.
- Weight: Lack of physical activity and obesity are risk factors.
- Diet: A high-fat diet, particularly animal fats, may increase your risk. Diets high in fruits and vegetables are thought to decrease your risk.
- Cigarette smoking and alcohol: Your risk may be higher if you smoke or drink alcohol.
Reducing Your Risk
You can take action to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer by:
- Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Limiting your fat intake to no more than 30 percent of your total daily calories
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining your ideal weight
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption