Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

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

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