Colon Cancer: What Raises Your Risk
British Columbia Specific Information
You can lower your risk of getting colorectal cancer by getting early colon screening. For information on colorectal screening, including the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and who should be tested under the new BC Colon Screening program, visit British Columbia Cancer Agency Colon Screening.
For additional information on colon screening, visit Ministry of Health Colorectal Screening for Cancer Prevention in Asymptomatic Patients which also includes the Colorectal Cancer: Guide for Patients. You may also be interested in the Appendix A: Factors Influencing Colorectal Cancer Risk.
Making healthy diet and lifestyle changes can also lower your risk of getting colorectal cancer. For more information, see Healthy Eating Guidelines For Cancer Prevention: Colorectal Cancer. You may also call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered dietitian, Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., or you can Email a HealthLinkBC Dietitian.
Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you:
- Already have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
- Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with an adenomatous polyp or colorectal cancer. Some experts say that if you have a first-degree relative who has had colorectal cancer, you should begin screening earlier than age 50. They recommend starting at age 40 or when you are 10 years younger than when your relative was diagnosed with cancer, whichever is younger.footnote 1
- Have had adenomatous polyps removed from your colon. This type of polyp is more likely to turn into cancer, but the risk is still very low.
- Have inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.
- Have a rare inherited polyp syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC).
- Have had radiation treatments to the abdomen or pelvis.
If you have an increased risk for colon polyps, the frequency of your screening depends on your overall health, age, and combination of other risk factors. Talk with your doctor about the types and frequency of tests that will be best for you and your level of risk.
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of: November 20, 2015
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