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Am I At Risk for Colon Cancer?

Age is the greatest risk factor for colon cancer. 94% of cases occur in men and women over the age of 50.

Other factors that may increase your risk include:

  • A personal history of polyps or inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease).

  • A strong family history, such as:

    • 2 close family members (mother/father, sister/brother, son/daughter) who had colon cancer or polyps, or

    • 1 close family member who had colon cancer or polyps before age 60.

You can reduce your risk of colon cancer in the following ways:

  • Get Checked! It is recommended that most people age 50-74 do a home screening test every 2 years. Some people may be at increased risk and need colon cancer screening before age 50 or need a different test called a colonoscopy.

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices:picture of fruit and vegetables

    • Eat well:

      • Eat 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

      • Eat 6 ounces of whole grains daily. This has been linked to a 21% decreased risk of colon cancer.

      • Drink alcohol in moderation (no more than 2 drinks/day for men and no more than 1 drink/day for women).

      • Limit the amount of red meat and processed meats that you eat.

    • Be physically active for 30 minutes or more per day.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Don't smoke or use tobacco.


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