Colorectal cancer is also known as colon cancer, bowel cancer, or rectal cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women and third for men. The good news is that due to improvements in both screening and treatments, and although the death rate is falling, it is still important for everyone to be knowledgeable about the causes and risk factors for colorectal cancer.
Inconclusive Causes Of Colorectal Cancer
Colon cancer usually begins in the large intestine. It begins when healthy cells in the colon develop mutations in their DNA. Healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly fashion, but if a cell’s DNA becomes damaged and cancerous, these cells will continue to divide even if they’re not needed. When this occurs they can form a tumor, and as they continue to accumulate, they invade other parts of the body.
The fact is doctors and scientists don’t really know exactly what causes colorectal cancer.
A risk factor is something that might predict or raise the level of risk that you will develop a particular cancer. Having multiple risk factors doesn’t mean you will get the cancer, it just means you have a higher chance. Some people who get colon cancer have no risk factors.
Uncontrollable Risk Factors
Some risk factors for colorectal cancer are part of your makeup like having a family history of colon cancer. You can’t do anything about that.
Some additional risk factors you cannot control include the following:
- Your age, especially after 50 increases, your chances to get colon cancer
- Having a personal history of colon cancer or polyps
- Personal history Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis or IBD.
- Being African American puts you in the highest incidence and mortality rates of all other Americans
- If your ethnic background is from eastern Europe and you are Jewish, you have the highest incidence of this cancer than any other group in the world
- Having Type 2 Diabetes
- Having certain inherited syndromes
Controllable Risk Factors For Colorectal Cancer
There are risk factors which you can change and thereby control. This is especially important if you have some of the uncontrollable ones from the list.
Stop smoking. If this is difficult, you may want to try these tips from the American Cancer Society.
If you are leading a sedentary lifestyle, spend more time stretching, walking, swimming, or doing any exercise as per Digestive Health Services.
Cut back on alcohol consumption.
Avoid red meat like beef, lamb, and pork plus processed meats. Increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight and obese increases your risk.