Sometimes known as bowel cancer or colorectal cancer, colon cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the colon. It typically begins with small noncancerous clumps of cells known as polyps - in some cases, these polyps can develop into colon cancer

The American Cancer Society states that 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will be diagnosed with colon cancer in their lifetime[1]. Some common risk factors associated with colon cancer include:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Older age

See also: How Do You Keep The Colon Healthy?


Risk factors associated with colon cancer


Colon cancer is quite common. In fact, not taking into account skin cancers, colon cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States[2]. Some of the most well known risk factors associated with colon cancer include:


Overweight or obesity


Though the link seems to be stronger in men, being overweight can increase the risk of colon cancer in both men and women [3].


Excessive alcohol use


There are links between colon cancer and heavy alcohol use [4]. Limiting alcohol use or cutting it out completely could bring with it many health benefits - for both you and your colon.


Smoking


It’s well-known that smoking can be a major cause of lung cancer but it can be the cause behind other cancers too. Those who smoke have been found more likely to develop colon cancer than non-smokers [5].


Family history


The American Cancer Society notes that a third of people who develop colon cancer have a family history of it. This risk can increase if there’s a history of colon cancer in immediate family members as a parent, sibling, or child [7].


Older age


Although younger adults can get colon cancer, it’s more common amongst those aged 50 and over [6].


You can screen for colon cancer with your doctor or from home with LetsGetChecked’s at home Colon Cancer Screening Test. Our at-home test is non-invasive and can identify blood in the stool that can’t be seen by the naked eye. Online results will be available to you within 5 days with medical support available during every step. If you have already noted blood in your stool, it’s important to speak with your doctor.

You should consider taking the test if:

  • You are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms
  • You have a history of adenomas (benign tumors)
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease* (which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • You have an inherited syndrome (e.g. Lynch syndrome/HNPCC or FAP)
  • You have type 2 diabetes
  • You have undergone radiation therapy


References

  1. American Cancer Society. Key statistics for colorectal cancer. Online: Cancer.org, 2020
  2. American Cancer Society. Key statistics for colorectal cancer. Online: Cancer.org, 2020
  3. American Cancer Society. Colorectal cancer risk factors. Online: Cancer.org, 2018
  4. American Cancer Society. Colorectal cancer risk factors. Online: Cancer.org, 2018
  5. American Cancer Society. Key statistics for colorectal cancer. Online: Cancer.org, 2020
  6. American Cancer Society. Colorectal cancer risk factors. Online: Cancer.org, 2018
  7. American Cancer Society. Key statistics for colorectal cancer. Online: Cancer.org, 2020