Here’s the list of Major Risk Factors For Colorectal Cancer that you can’t change, but also there are many factors that you can control and be proactive about.
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Men have a slightly higher risk of developing colorectal cancer when compared to women. However, women have a higher risk of developing right-sided colon cancer than men, which is more aggressive than left-sided colon cancer. Also, women older than 65 years old show higher mortality and lower 5-year survival rate of colorectal cancer than men of the same age.
The risk of colorectal cancer goes up as you get older. Although it may appear at any age, most cases concern people older than 50 years old. However, the incidence of colorectal cancer in young people is increasing. The reason why this happens is not entirely known. Unhealthy diets and lifestyles may play a significant role.
- Colorectal polyps
If you’ve already had colon cancer or colon polyps, you have a greater risk of colon cancer. Polyps are non-cancerous growths that are usually harmless. If hyperplastic and on the right side of the colon, they might be a concern. Polyps removal is possible through invasive or minimally invasive techniques.
- Race / Ethnicity
African-Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer than do people of other races. The reason is not clear, and it seems to be a multifactorial matter linked to low-quality medical care and screening.
- Digestive disorders
Chronic inflammatory diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, are also important risk factors. They both produce chronic inflammatory states inside the colon, creating a pre-cancerous state and a fertile environment for the development of colon cancer.
- Genetic Changes
Inherited gene changes (mutations) can cause colon cancer, but only in a small percentage. Two well-established inherited syndromes are familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome, also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
- Family History
You’re more likely to develop colon cancer if you have a 1st-degree relative who has had the disease. Your risk gets higher the more relatives you have with a history of colon cancer.
This condition is associated with a higher risk of rectal cancer. Diet disturbances and obesity usually present in those with type 2 diabetes seem to play a role, though scientists are not entirely sure. Type 2 diabetes patients have an estimated 38% higher risk of developing colon cancer.
- Other Cancers
Women who have had ovarian cancer or uterine cancer have a greater chance of developing colorectal cancer. Associations between cancers is not a rare thing, as some cases may be the result of metastases.
Radiation therapy directed at the abdomen to treat previous cancers increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Let’s not forget that one of the side effects of radiotherapy is altered bowel movements, which persist even after the discontinuation of the therapy. Diarrhea and frequent bowel movements are characteristic.