Colon Cancer: What Raises Your Risk
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.Reference 1
- Are an African American. Some experts say African Americans should start screening at age 45.Reference 2 Others say to start at age 40.Reference 1
- Have had Reference adenomatous polyps Opens New Window 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 Reference ulcerative colitis Opens New Window or Reference Crohn's disease Opens New Window.
- Have a rare inherited polyp syndrome, such as Reference familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) Opens New Window or Reference hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) Opens New Window.
- Have had Reference radiation treatments Opens New Window 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.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 27, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal