A risk factor is anything that raises your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed. Others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed.
But having a risk factor, or even many, does not mean that you will get the disease. And some people who get the disease may not have any known risk factors.
Researchers have found several risk factors that might increase a person’s chance of developing colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
Factors that can affect the risk of developing colorectal cancer include:
- Age: About 90% of people diagnosed with colon cancer are over the age of 50
- Medical history: if it indicates polyps in the colon or rectum
- Inflammatory diseases of the intestine
- A genetic defect that affects the colon: Genetic syndromes that pass in the family from one generation to the next can increase the risk of developing colon cancer. These syndromes are responsible for 5% of all colon cancer cases. One of these genetic syndromes is called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), which is a rare syndrome that causes thousands of polyps to develop on the walls of the intestine and inside the rectum.
- People with FAP syndrome without treatment have an increased risk of colon cancer, up to the age of 45, by more than 90%. Another syndrome is Lynch syndrome – or: HNPCC – which is more common than FAP. People with HNPCC syndrome are more likely to develop colon cancer at an early age. These two syndromes, FAP and HNPCC, can be detected by genetic testing. If the family history indicates that a family member has one of these two syndromes, it is necessary to inform the treating physician and discuss with him the necessary tests to be performed and to be taken.
- Family history: If the family had previous cases of colon or intestinal cancer or colon polyps
- Diet: Colorectal cancer may be related to diets low in fiber or high in fat and calories.
- Physical activity: lack or lack of physical activity
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol in excessive quantities can increase the risk of colon cancer
- Disturbances in growth hormone
- Radiation treatments for cancer
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