Colorectal Cancer (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
What Increases Your Risk
Colorectal cancer occurrence rates are highest among African Americans. Rates are slightly lower among whites and lowest for Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Hispanics.1
A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Risk factors for getting colorectal cancer include:
Risks you can't change
Everyone who is older than 50 has a risk of getting colorectal cancer. And the older you are, the greater the risk. Most cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in people older than 50. Most people who get colorectal cancer have no other risk factors besides being older than 50.
Your family's medical history
You are more likely to get colorectal cancer if one of your parents, brothers, sisters, or children has had the disease. This is considered a strong family history. Your risk depends on how old your family member was when he or she was diagnosed and on how many members of your family have had the disease.
You have a very strong family history if all of the following are true:
If you have a very strong family history of colorectal and related cancers, you may want to have genetic testing. Related cancers include ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, or cancer of the small bowel, among others. Genetic testing is done with a blood test that looks for changed genes (mutations).
The most common gene changes occur in two conditions: familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome, also called hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC). Many people with these changed genes will develop colorectal cancer if they are not carefully watched. Genetic testing can tell you whether you carry a changed, or mutated, gene that can cause FAP or HNPCC.
Most people who get colorectal cancer do not have a personal or family history of the disease.
Your medical history
Your chances of getting colorectal cancer are higher if you have had:
Lifestyle changes to reduce your risk
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Get the latest treatment options.
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies