Risk factors

Risk factors for cancer include the genetics of the individual, and environmental and lifestyle factors.

Someone exposed to one or more risk factor has a higher chance of developing the disease, in this case, colorectal cancer. However, many of these factors can be avoided.

Avoiding risk factors linked to behaviors and avoidable exposures can diminish cancer risk

Bellow is a list of the most common risk factors for colorectal cancer, sorted according to their influence over disease, as well as some protective factors (reduce the chance of disease).

Major risk factors:

  • Age
  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomas
  • A personal history of bowel inflammatory diseases
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Genetic predisposition

Minor risk factors:

  • Certain diets (red meat, saturated fat)
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption

Protective factors:

  • Regular screening for colorectal cancer 
  • Physical activity
  • Some diets (with vegetables, fruits and fibers)

Learn more about risk and protective factors for colorectal cancer in  Am I at risk?

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