Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Thankfully, with proper screening, this cancer is preventable.
My patients often ask me about the risk factors for colon cancer. A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of developing a particular disease. If you have a risk factor, it does not mean you will get the disease.
Colon Cancer Risk Factors
The following factors may increase your chance of developing colon cancer:
Family History As A Colon Cancer Risk Factor
It is important to know your family history. If someone in your family has had colon cancer or precancerous polyps, you may be at increased risk. If a close relative had colon cancer, it is recommended that you start colon cancer screenings 10 years before you reach the age at which your sibling or parent developed the cancer.
Inherited syndromes, including Lynch syndrome, also increase the risk of colon cancer.
Controlling Your Risk Factors and Preventing Colon Cancer
You can control some risk factors, such as lifestyle risk factors. Take steps now to exercise regularly, follow a healthy diet, stop smoking, and limit alcohol use.
Talk with your doctor to determine when you should have a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer. It is important to share your family history with your physician. Most people should begin regular screening at age 50 and once every ten years after that. However, some people need to be screened earlier and/or more often.
Is it time for your colonoscopy? Contact us today to schedule a colonoscopy.