Cancer that affects the large intestine or the last part of the digestive tract is known as colon cancer. Many factors can increase your chances of developing this type of cancer. These factors are known as risk factors, and a few of these are listed below.
1. Age and gender
Although this cancer can be diagnosed at any age, most colon cancer cases are diagnosed in people over 50. Therefore, your risk of developing colon cancer increases with age. The average age of detection of this cancer in men is 68, and in women, it is 72. Also, men are more prone to developing this form of cancer than women.
A diet low in fiber and high in fat puts you at a greater risk of developing various health conditions, including colon cancer. Hence, restricting or limiting the consumption of red and processed meats and opting for lean meats or healthier alternatives might be beneficial.
3. Lack of exercise
An inactive or sedentary lifestyle also increases your chances of developing this form of cancer. Insufficient physical activity and an unhealthy diet could also result in weight gain or obesity, increasing your risk of colon cancer.
4. Smoking and alcohol
Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol make you more susceptible to developing this type of cancer.
5. Family history
As with most forms of cancer, colon cancer, too, runs in families. If you have a first-degree relative such as a parent or sibling diagnosed with this form of cancer, your chances of developing it will increase. If your first-degree relative has been diagnosed with this cancer before the age of 60, your risk increases further. If you have close or extended family members diagnosed with colon cancer, you should speak to your doctor about getting regular screenings.
6. History of cancer
If you have had ovarian or uterine cancer earlier, you could be more prone to developing colon cancer too.
7. Inflammatory bowel disease
Conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease that cause chronic inflammation of the large intestine can increase your risk of colon cancer. It should be noted that irritable bowel syndrome or IBS does not cause colon cancer.
Now that you are aware of the risk factors of colon cancer, you can take a few measures to prevent this cancer from developing. You can opt to get regular screenings or make changes in your diet and lifestyle to reduce your risk.