Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

Many risk factors may influence the development of colorectal cancer, including:

  • Absolute Risk Factors:
    • 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.
  • Modifiable and Other Associated Risk Factors:
    • 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 of Developing Colorectal Cancer

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