Know the Risk Factors: What to Look for in Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States, and it is important to be aware of the risk factors associated with it. Knowing the risk factors can help you take steps to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.

The most important risk factor for colon cancer is age. People over the age of 50 are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer. Other risk factors include a family history of colon cancer, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, a sedentary lifestyle, and a diet high in red and processed meats.

People with a family history of colon cancer should be especially vigilant about getting screened for the disease. If you have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) who has had colon cancer, you should talk to your doctor about getting screened earlier than the recommended age of 50.

In addition to age and family history, there are other risk factors to be aware of. People who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can also increase your risk.

Finally, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer. These include changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor right away.

By knowing the risk factors for colon cancer, you can take steps to reduce your risk. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting screened for colon cancer at the recommended age. If you have a family history of colon cancer, talk to your doctor about getting screened earlier. Finally, be aware of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer and talk to your doctor if you experience any of them.