What're the risk factors for colon cancer?
Age: Most people who have colon cancer are over age fifty, although the disease can affect a person at any age.
Diet: Colon cancer is associated with a diet that is high in fat and calories and low in fiber. It is believed that the breakdown products of fat metabolism lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). Diets high in vegetables, and high-fiber foods such as whole-grain breads and cereals may rid the bowel of these carcinogens and help reduce the risk of cancer.
Medical factors: Colorectal cancer is more common among individuals with histories of the following conditions: intestinal polyps (noncancerous mushroom-shaped growths), chronic inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's colitis), and previous colorectal cancer. Women who have had cancers of the breast, uterus or ovary may also have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Personal history: People who have had colorectal cancer before and women who have had ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer are at a slightly increased risk of getting colon cancer.
Family history: People with first-degree relatives who have had colon cancer are at an increased risk for colon cancer. Abnormal genes have been found in patients with some forms of colon and rectal cancer, and tests are being developed to determine who carries these genes long before cancer appears.
Ulcerative colitis: People who have ulcerative colitis, inflammation of the lining of the colon, have an increased risk for colon cancer.