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What can increase your risk for colorectal cancer?

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Overall, only about 4.2% of men in the U.S. develop colorectal cancer, but several factors that you can't control  increase your risk:

  • Age:  Your risk of colorectal cancer goes up as you age. It is much more common to get it after age 50, but studies are showing a colon cancer rise in younger adults. 
  • Family History: If people in your immediate family or near relations had colorectal cancer at a young age, you should be screened earlier.
  • Previous Colorectal Cancer: If you've had cancer removed already, you're at higher risk to develop a new one.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: If you have had a condition such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis for several years, your risk of colorectal cancer goes up.

From: Rectal & Colon Cancer in Men WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: American Cancer Society: "Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer;" "Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors;" "Frequently Asked Questions About Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy;" and "Detailed Guide: Colon and Rectum Cancer." Speights, V. , 1991; vol 84: pp 575-578. CDC web site: ''Colorectal Cancer Statistics;''  ''Fast Facts About Colorectal Cancer.'' WebMD Medscape: "Issues in Colorectal Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention, Screening, and Surveillance;” "Study: Men Need Earlier Colonoscopies." Regula, J. , Nov. 2, 2006; vol 355: pp1863-1872. Cho, E. 2004; vol 140: pp 603-614. Slattery, M. , 1998; vol 148: pp 4-16. Nilsen, T. , 2001; vol 84: pp 417-422. Southern Medical JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine,American Journal of EpidemiologyBritish Journal of CancerNew England Journal of Medicine

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on August 30, 2019

SOURCES: American Cancer Society: "Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer;" "Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors;" "Frequently Asked Questions About Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy;" and "Detailed Guide: Colon and Rectum Cancer." Speights, V. , 1991; vol 84: pp 575-578. CDC web site: ''Colorectal Cancer Statistics;''  ''Fast Facts About Colorectal Cancer.'' WebMD Medscape: "Issues in Colorectal Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention, Screening, and Surveillance;” "Study: Men Need Earlier Colonoscopies." Regula, J. , Nov. 2, 2006; vol 355: pp1863-1872. Cho, E. 2004; vol 140: pp 603-614. Slattery, M. , 1998; vol 148: pp 4-16. Nilsen, T. , 2001; vol 84: pp 417-422. Southern Medical JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine,American Journal of EpidemiologyBritish Journal of CancerNew England Journal of Medicine

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on August 30, 2019

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