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There are a number of risk factors for developing colorectal cancer, but researchers remain unclear as to the precise causes of the condition. However, there does seem to be a strong correlation between certain factors and the development of cancer in the colon or rectum. For instance, a person’s likelihood of developing colorectal cancer increases as he or she ages, with roughly nine of every 10 diagnoses for the condition occurring in individuals who are older than 50.

However, it should be noted that people with risk factors are not necessarily destined to develop cancer. Some individuals with many risk factors never develop tumors, while others with no risk factors find themselves as cancer patients. Risk factors simply indicate that a patient and his or her physician should be mindful of the potential for the development of the condition.

Aside from age, other colorectal cancer risk factors include:

  • Unhealthy lifestyle – Smoking, poor diet and obesity have been linked to the development of a number of cancers, but none more so than colorectal cancer.
  • A history of other particular conditions – Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, polyps in the colon and other conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract have been linked to the development of cancer in the colon or rectum.
  • Family history – Close relatives of someone with a history of colorectal cancer have an elevated risk of developing the disease themselves, especially if the relative had cancer at a young age.
  • Certain hereditary conditions – Individuals with familial adenomatous polyposis, hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (or Lynch syndrome) or other inherited disorders have an increased likelihood of developing colorectal cancer.

The colorectal cancer experts in Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program understand the various risk factors that can lead to the development of colorectal cancer, as well as the signs and symptoms that indicate the possibility of the condition. We can help diagnose and treat cancer by using a collaborative approach, bringing together surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and other specialists to examine the results of diagnostic tests and formulate an individualized treatment plan.

If you or someone you love wants to know more about colorectal cancer risk factors, call Moffitt Cancer Center at 1-888-663-3488, or contact us by filling out our convenient new patient registration form. No referral is necessary to visit our facility or speak with our specialists.