Risk Factors For Colon Cancer
Current estimates suggest that one in twenty Americans will be inflicted with colorectal cancer in their lifetime and for this reason, it is important that people understand the risk factors for colon cancer. The National Cancer Institute predicts that over 50,000 Americans will die from colon and rectal cancer this year, but awareness of the risk factors can help prevent this disease.
- Heredity It is believed that heredity is the cause for twenty percent of colon cancer cases. Although we can’t change our genes, we can focus on the other risk factors to lower the odds of contracting the disease. People in a higher risk group should be checked regularly.
- Age Colorectal cancer generally impacts men and women in the 50 plus age group. It is recommended that people in this age group have a colonoscopy and a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) to check for colon cancer. Early detection is critical in successfully treating the cancer.
- Polyps Polyps are non-cancerous growths on the inner wall of the colon and rectum. Although the polyps are not cancerous, they can lead to colon cancer and should be removed. Most colon cancers start as polyps.
- Smoking and alcohol As with many other cancers, people that smoke are at higher risk to contract colon cancer. Alcohol consumption in more than a moderate amount is also a risk factor for getting colon cancer. Smoking and alcohol abuse contribute to a number of serious medical conditions and both activities should be avoided to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and a variety of other diseases.
- Diet and lifestyle Studies suggest that diets with high animal fats and low calcium, fruits, vegetables and fiber are at a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Studies have also suggested that those that lead sedentary lifestyles are at higher risk for colon cancer. A proper diet and regular exercise promote overall good health and assist in preventing colon cancer.
- Previous cancer history Research indicates that women who have had ovarian, uterus or breast cancer have a slightly higher than normal risk to contract colon cancer. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic break in the lining of the colon; people with ulcerative colitis are at a higher risk for colon cancer.
Knowing the risk factors for colon cancer can help in preventing the disease. A proper diet, exercise, and not smoking and drinking in moderation can prevent colon cancer and many other medical problems. Colon cancer detected early has a 90 percent recovery rate. People over 50 and those in high-risk groups should get a regular check up.