Certain factors may increase your chances of developing colorectal cancer. You can control some – such as lifestyle habits – but not others, like age or family history.
Take our assessment to see if you meet the criteria for colorectal cancer screening.* Then, consult your doctor about next steps.
Your team at Sylvester will develop a personalized screening plan based on your age, personal and family health history, lifestyle, and risk factors.
What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer?
Risk factors you can control:
- Being overweight
- Eating a lot of red meats, processed meats, or meats cooked at high temperatures (creates chemicals that may increase cancer risk)
- Moderate to heavy alcohol use (more than one drink a day for women or more than two drinks a day for men)
- Not exercising
Colorectal cancer risk factors you can’t control include:
- Age. Your risk increases as you get older. Colorectal cancer is more common after age 50.
- Family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps (the type that can become cancer). As many as 1 in 3 people with colorectal cancer have family members who’ve had it.
- History of colorectal polyps. If you’ve had adenomatous polyps – particularly if they’re large or you’ve had many – it increases your risk.
- History of colorectal cancer. Even if you’ve had the cancer removed, you have a greater risk of developing new cancers in other areas of the colon or rectum.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD can cause changes to cells in the colon or rectum lining that can become cancerous over time.
- Inherited syndromes. About 5% of people with colorectal cancer have a gene mutation that causes the cancer. The most common inherited syndromes are Lynch syndrome and FAP.
- Racial and ethnic background. Black people and Ashkenazi Jews are at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to have a less favorable recovery outlook (poor prognosis).
Who is at high risk for colorectal cancer?
You are considered to be at high risk for colon cancer or rectal cancer if you meet one or more of the following criteria, according to the American Cancer Society.
- A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps (growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum)
- Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
- Previous cancer treatments that included radiation therapy in the abdominal or pelvic area
- Certain genetic syndromes that can increase your risk of colorectal cancer
Talk to your doctor to find out what’s right for your care.* Depending on your risk factors, it may be appropriate to be screened at a younger age, more frequently, or both.
Who is at average risk for colorectal cancer?
People are considered to be at average risk for colorectal cancer if they do not meet the high-risk criteria listed above.
*Always check with your insurance provider before any screening or test to determine coverage.