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Risk Factors

Risk Factors

Who is at Risk to Develop Colorectal Cancer?

  • Colorectal cancer occurs in men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. African Americans have the highest colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates of all racial groups in the United States.
  • Most colorectal cancers are diagnosed in people aged 50 years or older. The risk for developing colorectal cancer increases with age.
  • A family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps increases a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer. Approximately 20 percent of people who develop colorectal cancer have other family members who have been affected by the disease.
  • Certain diseases of the intestines, including inflammatory bowel disease, can increase the risk for colorectal cancer.  

Is There Anything I Can Do to Reduce My Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

Most occurences of colorectal cancer start with precancerous abnormal growths, referred to as polyps. You can reduce your risk by getting regular colon screenings and finding polyps before they turn into cancer. If after your screening your doctor finds polyps that have already turned into cancer, detecting it early offers a greater chance that it can be treated and cured.

In general, diets high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, heart disease and diabetes and may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

Some studies show leading an active lifestyle, limiting your alcohol intake and not smoking can also reduce your changes of colorectal cancer.

What are Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Your risk of developing colon cancer is about 1 in 20. Symptoms often do not appear until later stages of the disease, so do not delay in meeting with your doctor. If you are experiencing any of these signs, schedule a consultation with our highly skilled surgeons today. Colorectal cancer develops with few, if any symptoms at first. If symptoms are present, they may include:
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
  • Stools that are narrower than usual 
  • Frequently having gas pains or cramps, or feeling full or bloated 
  • Weight loss with no known reason 
  • Feeling tired all the time 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. Other health problems can also cause them. Talk to your doctor. Usually, early cancer does not cause pain, so it is important to not wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor. When colorectal cancer is detected early, it can have a 90 percent or better cure rate.