What are the risk factors for colon cancer?
Like most cancers, the most important risk factors for colon cancer are those
we can't change:† age and a family history of colon polyps, or colon or rectal
cancer.† Other unchangeable risk factor include:
- blood type A
- a history of precancerous polyps
or previous colon cancer and
- a history of chronic inflammatory
bowel disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease
Other risk factors are changeable and there are steps you can take to reduce
your risk of colon cancer.† The most important step†is to have regular screening
tests.† Other steps include:
- drinking 8 to 10 glasses of
water per day
- Eating 5 servings a day of fruits
- Increase your dietary fiber
- Get regular aerobic exercise
- Maintain a healthy weight and
- Limit alcohol intake
- Studies have also shown that
in women, birth control pill usage and hormone replacement therapy can reduce
colon cancer risk.
that should send you to the doctor for evaluation include:
- a decreased appetite or unexplained
- fatigue or unexplained anemia
- unusual abdominal pain or cramps
- a change in bowel habits (such
as prolonged diarrhea or severe constipation) or
- noticing any† blood in the stool or rectal bleeding.
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Created: 1/31/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.