Cancer risk factors are things that put you at higher risk for having cancer. Colon cancer risk factors may include:
- Age: people over the age of 50 are at a higher risk than are those under the age of 50
- Health history: having had growths called polyps in the past, having had colon cancer, or having a bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease increases the chance that you will have colon cancer in the future
- Family health history: having a parent, brother, sister, or child with colon cancer increases your own risk. So does having certain syndromes that are linked to colon cancer that you inherited from your mother or father
- Race or ethnic background: African Americans and Jewish people from eastern Europe are at higher risk for colon cancer than people who are not
- Lifestyle habits: eating a large amount of red or processed meats, such as beef and hot dogs, being physically inactive, being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol all increase your risk for having colon cancer
- Having type 2 diabetes: people with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk for having colon cancer
Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors for colon cancer.
To the right are examples of organizations and resources you may find helpful. Click on the links to visit those websites and learn more.