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Colon Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

Colon cancer causes are, as of now, unknown. Some risk factors, both controllable and uncontrollable, can influence someone’s odds of being affected by colon cancer.

They aren’t direct causes of colon cancer, but the following unpreventable factors can be related to its development:

  • Age, because the risk of developing any cancer increases as age does
  • Race and ethnic background, because African Americans and people of Ashkenazi descent have a higher risk
  • A history of intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • A family history of colorectal cancers
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Some genetically inherited conditions like Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Having previous cancerous growths of the colon or precancerous polyps

Other factors are more controllable, including the following lifestyle-related issues:

  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Being very overweight
  • High-fat diets, as well as diets with lots of processed and red meats
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Smoking or using other tobacco products

Even if these potential causes of colon cancer are present, it doesn’t mean that someone will develop cancer. Regular screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for people over age 50; during these check-ups, medical professionals can check for precancerous polyps that might eventually become cancer, as well as existing malignant tumors.

If you have a diagnosis of colorectal cancer and would like a physician referral, please use our PhysicianFinder tool or call (813) 844-2200.