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Could You or a Loved One have Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer?

Posted Mar 26 2013 8:35am

The National Cancer Institute estimates that 143,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) in 2013. Dont' be one of the statistics. Find out if you or a loved one may be at risk.

It’s hard to know why one person gets the disease while another doesn’t.  But research studies have identified the following risk factors that may increase the chance of developing colon cancer:

Risk Factors:

•  Age over 50: More than 90 percent of people with this disease are diagnosed after age 50. But young people can and do get colorectal cancer too.
•  Colorectal polyps: Polyps are growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. The good news is that finding and removing polyps may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.
•  Family history of colorectal cancer: Close relatives of a person with a history of colorectal cancer may be at higher risk of developing this disease.
•  Genetic alterations: Changes in certain genes increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Genetic testing can check for specific genetic changes.
•  Personal history of cancer: If you or a loved one has already had colorectal cancer, they could develop it a second time. Women with a history of cancer of the ovary, uterus, or breast are at somewhat higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
•  Ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease: People who have had a condition like Crohn’s disease for many years is at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
•  Diet: Studies suggest that diets high in fat (especially animal fat) and low in calcium, folate, and fiber may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
•  Cigarette smoking: Cigarette smoking may increase the risk of developing polyps and colorectal cancer.

The Good News

We now have better weapons for fighting the disease: more options for diagnosis and treatment, improved therapies and new technologies for early detection. We also now know that people can take steps to protect themselves against cancer. You may be able to lower your overall cancer risk by being active and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

If you think you or a loved one may be at risk, check with your doctor about getting screened as soon as possible.

Sources
National Cancer Institute [ Risk Factors ]
Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation [ Prevention ]

Medical Disclaimer
The information presented on the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer web site is solely intended to provide you with information that will help educate you on the importance of diet, exercise and regular cancer screening in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Adopting these habits is an individual choice and one that should only be made after consultation with your health care professional. No information provided on this Web site is intended to replace or in any way modify the advice of your health care professional.

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