Cancer (Oncology)

Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

Risk factors are traits that put people at greater risk of developing cancer. Most people who develop colorectal cancer have no known risk factors. But some traits do increase the likelihood of developing the disease:

People over age 50 are more at risk.

Women are at greater risk of developing colon cancer, while men are more likely to develop rectal cancer.

A type of polyp known as adenoma is considered a precursor of colorectal cancer.

Medical & Family History
Women with a history of ovarian, uterine or breast cancer, previous colorectal cancer patients, people with chronic inflammatory conditions of the colon (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), and those with a family history of colorectal cancer have an increased risk.

A high-fat, high-calorie and low-fiber diet may be linked to a greater risk.

Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and excess weight may be contributing factors.


People with diabetes are at a 30 to 40 percent higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi) have a higher rate of colon cancer.
Learn more about risk factors for colorectal cancer. See Health Library >>


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