Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death among American men and women.
In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer; more than 50,000 people will die of this disease.
Colorectal cancer almost always starts with a polyp, so doctors recommend regular screening tests to help find polyps before they become cancerous. Most people who have polyps removed never get cancer, but, if colorectal cancer is found early, you have a good chance of beating it with treatment.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
Age: Most colorectal cancers occur in men and women over the age of 50.
Race/ethnicity: African-Americans have a greater risk of colorectal cancers.
Personal/family history: If you have diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, you are at increased risk. A prior history of polyps also increases risk. Having one or more close family relatives with colorectal cancer increases risk, too. This may or may not be a genetic link, so talk to your health care provider about your profile.
Lifestyle choices: Obesity, diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol can increase risk.