Experts say we are not completely sure why colorectal cancer develops in some people and not in others. However, several risk factors have been identified over the years – a risk factor is something which may increase a person’s chances of developing a disease or condition. The possible risk factors for colorectal factors are:
- Being elderly – the older you are the higher the risk is.
- A diet that is very high in animal protein.
- A diet that is very high in saturated fats.
- A diet that is very low in dietary fiber.
- A diet that is very high in calories.
- A diet that is very high in alcohol consumption.
- Women who have had breast, ovary and uterus cancers.
- A family history of colorectal cancer.
- Patients with ulcerative colitis.
- Being overweight/obese.
- Smoking. This study found that smoking is significantly associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer and death.
- Being physically inactive.
- Presence of polyps in the colon/rectum. Untreated polyps may eventually become cancerous.
- Having Crohn’s disease or Irritable Bowel Disease have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
A risk factor is just a risk factor – it increases the risk but in no way guarantees that it will happen.
Scientists have identified a common genetic variation associated with the risk of colorectal cancer and its functional implications.
Most colon cancers develop within polyps (adenoma). These are often found inside the bowel wall.
Sugary snacks raise colorectal cancer risk – a research team from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, found a positive association between colorectal cancer risk and a diet high in sugar and fats. In the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, Dr. Evropi Theodoratou and colleagues wrote that the consumption of cookies, cakes, sodas and desserts influences the likelihood of bowel and colon cancers.
Dr. Evropi Theodoratou, said “What we have found is very interesting and it merits further investigation using large population studies. While the positive associations between a diet high in sugar and fat and colorectal cancer do not automatically imply ’cause and effect,’ it is important to take on board what we’ve found, especially as people in industrialized countries are consuming more of these foods.”
Oral bacteria can cause colorectal cancer – a type of bacteria that exist in the mouth, Fusobacteria, have been found to trigger colorectal cancer. These bacteria influence the human immune response and switch on cancer genes.
Gut microbes may play a role in colorectal cancer – new research from the US suggests an individual’s particular mix of gut microbes may help the development of colorectal cancer tumors by interacting with genes and inflammatory responses.
Colorectal cancer: the risk factors, symptoms and importance of screening – according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 20 million adults in the US who have never had the recommended screening for the disease, putting them at higher risk of dying from a preventable condition.