When it comes to colorectal cancer and any cancer for that matter, a risk factor assessment is vital. In this case, a risk factor is a possibility by which an individual stands to get/not get cancer. Also, cancer professionals use risk to assess the chances of cancer recurring.
So, the simplest definition of a risk factor in relation to colorectal cancer is anything with the capability of triggering the onset of cancer in an individual. Because people’s anatomies are different, some predominant risk elements might not necessarily lead to cancer in some individuals. While people with no detectable risk factors can still get cancer.
So, you need to identify your risk factors, then discuss them with your doctor to help you make better lifestyle and healthcare decisions. But how? Below, we cover the top 5 factors that contribute to colorectal cancer to get you started! Let’s jump in?
All types of food you put in your mouth end up in your body. While we cannot label every food as bad, some are highly associated with colorectal cancer. For instance, according to research, too much consumption of some types of meat products, including processed meats (ham, sausages, hot dogs, etc.), and red meat places you at a high risk of this disease. But, there is still no viable research showcasing the diet choices that risk the chances of getting colorectal cancer.
Although Adenomatous polyps or simply adenomas isn’t cancer, some of them can cause colorectal cancer, especially if not treated early enough. So, if you have been suffering from polyps, the best way to cut down on your cancer risk is to have them removed. Also, your doctor should help you come up with befitting follow-up screening sessions to rule out the formation of fresh/extra polyps, and colorectal cancer.
Like other types of cancers, the older you get, the higher chances of the risk of getting colorectal cancer. While this doesn’t mean that young people cannot suffer from this disease, its preference leans on older people over 50 years. Teens and young adults still occupy around 11% of the entire colorectal cancer diagnoses, so they also need to remain self-aware, and the best way is through frequently scheduled screening.
If there has been a background of colorectal cancer in your family, including close family members (parents, children, siblings, etc.) and extended family members (grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc.), you are at risk of getting it. Yet, the risk depends on various factors, such as the age of the family member(s) diagnosed, and their closeness to you. For instance, if your first-degree relative was diagnosed with this disease at a young age, your risk changes increase. So, set time aside to learn about the colorectal cancer background of your family. In case of any doubts, book a session with a genetic counselor. They will advise you on the appropriate measures, including genetic testing.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Various types of IBD, mainly Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis are the largest causes of large intestines chronic inflammation. If not treated well, and on time, this inflammation can develop into colorectal cancer. Always consult a doctor if you are not sure whether you’re suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or IBD, as IBS doesn’t increase your risk of getting colorectal cancer.
The above factors should help you get started with your colorectal cancer awareness journey. To learn more about participating in a clinical trial about Colorectal Cancer in your area, please contact our friendly research staff.