Although there is no way to completely avoid getting colorectal cancer, you can increase the chances of early detection and intervention by knowing your personal risk factors. Read on as the team at Piedmont Colorectal Associates explains how to know if you are at an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
How Old Are You?
Although colorectal cancer can affect younger adults (and rates are rising among adults between the ages of 20 and 39) adults over the age of 50 are still the most likely to be diagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 90 percent of colorectal cancer patients are 50 or older.
Do You Have a Family History of Colorectal Cancer?
If you have a family member — especially a parent or sibling — with colorectal cancer, your chances of getting the disease increase. Whether the reason is inherited genes, shared environmental factors or both, experts are not absolutely sure.
According to the American Cancer Society, about one in three people diagnosed with colorectal cancer has a family member with a history of the disease. For this reason, it’s important to know whether your close family members have had cancer.
Do You Have Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease?
A personal history of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel diseases) can make you more likely to get colorectal cancer. This is why doctors underscore the importance of Crohn’s and colitis patients getting regular colonoscopy screenings to catch any abnormal cells as early as possible.
Have You Had Colorectal Polyps?
Certain types of polyps (abnormal growths) can gradually turn into colorectal cancer if not detected and removed. If a previous colonoscopy has revealed the presence of polyps, make sure to stay on top of scheduling future screenings. Polyps can easily be removed during a colonoscopy to eliminate the chance that they develop into cancer.
Do You Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices?
Your lifestyle also factors into your risk of getting colorectal cancer. Studies have found links between colorectal cancer and obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity and eating a diet full of processed foods. Luckily, these lifestyle factors are well within your control. By not smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, getting regular physical exercise, eating a healthy diet and managing your weight, you can lower your chances of getting colorectal cancer.
Request More Information from Piedmont Colorectal Associates
If you are interested in learning more about the risk factors for colorectal cancer, Piedmont Colorectal Associates is an excellent resource for information. Call or email us today.