Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors | Hereditary Colorectal Risk Factors (2023)

A risk factor is anything that raises your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed. Others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed.

But having a risk factor, or even many, does not mean that you will get the disease. And some people who get the disease may not have any known risk factors.

Researchers have found several risk factors that might increase a person’s chance of developing colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer risk factors you can change

Many lifestyle-related factors have been linked to colorectal cancer. In fact, the links between diet, weight, and exercise and colorectal cancer risk are some of the strongest for any type of cancer.

Being overweight or obese

If you are overweight or obese (very overweight), your risk of developing and dying from colorectal cancer is higher. Being overweight raises the risk of colon and rectal cancer in people, but the link seems to be stronger in men. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight may help lower your risk.

Not being physically active

If you're not physically active, you have a greater chance of developing colon cancer. Regular moderate to vigorous physical activitycan help lower your risk.

Certain types of diets

A diet that's high in red meats (such as beef, pork, lamb, or liver) and processed meats (like hot dogs and some luncheon meats) raises your colorectal cancer risk.

Cooking meats at very high temperatures (frying, broiling, or grilling) creates chemicals that might raise your cancer risk. It’s not clear how much this might increase your colorectal cancer risk.

Having a low blood level of vitamin D may also increase your risk.

Following a healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and that limits or avoids red and processed meats and sugary drinks probably lowers risk.

Smoking

People who have smoked tobacco for a long time are more likely than people who don't smoke to develop and die from colorectal cancer. Smoking is a well-known cause of lung cancer, but it's linked to a lot of other cancers, too. If you smoke and want to know more about quitting, see ourGuide to Quitting Smoking.

Alcohol use

Colorectal cancer has been linked to moderate to heavy alcohol use. Even light-to-moderate alcohol intake has been associated with some risk. It is best not to drink alcohol. If people do drink alcohol, they should have no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. This could have many health benefits, including a lower risk of many kinds of cancer.

Colorectal cancer risk factors you cannot change

Being older

Your risk of colorectal cancer goes up as you age. Younger adults can get it, but it's much more common after age 50.Colorectal cancer is rising among people who are younger than age 50 and the reason for this remains unclear.

A personal history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer

If you have a history of adenomatous polyps (adenomas), you are at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. This is especially true if the polyps are large, if there are many of them, or if any of them show dysplasia.

If you've had colorectal cancer, even though it was completely removed, you are more likely to develop new cancers in other parts of the colon and rectum. The chances of this happening are greater if you had your first colorectal cancer when you were younger.

A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease

If you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, your risk of colorectal cancer is increased.

IBD is a condition in which the colon is inflamed over a long period of time. People who have had IBD for many years, especially if untreated, often develop dysplasia. Dysplasia is a term used to describe cells in the lining of the colon or rectum that look abnormal, but are not cancer cells. They can change into cancer over time.

If you have IBD, you may need to start getting screened for colorectal cancer when you are younger and be screened more often.

Inflammatory bowel disease is different from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which does not appear to increase your risk for colorectal cancer.

A family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps

Most colorectal cancers are found in people without a family history of colorectal cancer. Still, as many as 1 in 3 people who develop colorectal cancer have other family members who have had it.

People with a history of colorectal cancer in a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) are at increased risk. The risk is even higher if that relative was diagnosed with cancer when they were younger than 50 , or if more than one first-degree relative is affected.

The reasons for the increased risk are not clear in all cases. Cancers can “run in the family” because of inherited genes, shared environmental factors, or some combination of these.

Having family members who have had adenomatous polyps is also linked to a higher risk of colon cancer. (Adenomatous polyps are the kind of polyps that can become cancer.)

(Video) Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors with Dr. David Stein

If you have a family history of adenomatous polyps or colorectal cancer, talk with your doctor about the possible need to start screening before age 45. If you've had adenomatous polyps or colorectal cancer, it’s important to tell your close relatives so that they can pass along that information to their doctors and start screening at the right age.

Having an inherited syndrome

About 5% of people who develop colorectal cancer have inherited gene changes (mutations) that cause family cancer syndromes and can lead to them getting the disease.

The most common inherited syndromes linked with colorectal cancers are Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, or HNPCC) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), but other rarer syndromes can increase colorectal cancer risk, too.

Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)

Lynch syndrome is the most common hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome. It accounts for about 2% to 4% of all colorectal cancers. In most cases, this disorder is caused by an inherited defect in either the MLH1, MSH2 or MSH6 gene, but changes in other genes can also cause Lynch syndrome. These genes normally help repair DNA that has been damaged.

The cancers linked to this syndrome tend to develop when people are relatively young. People with Lynch syndrome can have polyps, but they tend to only have a few. The lifetime risk of colorectal cancer in people with this condition may be as high as 50% , but this depends on which gene is affected.

Women with this condition also have a very high risk of developing cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus). Other cancers linked with Lynch syndrome include cancer of the ovary, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, kidney, prostate, breast, ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), and bile duct. People with Turcot syndrome (a rare inherited condition) who have a defect in one of the Lynch syndrome genes are at a higher risk of colorectal cancer as well as a specific type of brain cancer called glioblastoma.

For more on Lynch syndrome, see What Causes Colorectal Cancer?, Can Colorectal Cancer Be Prevented?, and Family Cancer Syndromes.

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

FAP is caused by changes (mutations) in the APC gene that a person inherits from parents. About 1% of all colorectal cancers are caused by FAP.

In the most common type of FAP, hundreds or thousands of polyps develop in a person’s colon and rectum, often starting at ages 10 to 12 years. Cancer usually develops in 1 or more of these polyps as early as age 20. By age 40, almost all people with FAP will have colon cancer if their colon hasn’t been removed to prevent it. People with FAP also have an increased risk for cancers of the stomach, small intestines, pancreas, liver, and some other organs.

There are 3 sub-types of FAP:

  • In attenuated FAP or AFAP, patients have fewer polyps (less than 100), and colorectal cancer tends to occur at a later age (40s and 50s).
  • Gardner syndrome is a type of FAP that also causes non-cancer tumors of the skin, soft tissue, and bones.
  • Turcot syndrome is a rare inherited condition in which people have a higher risk of many adenomatous polyps and colorectal cancer. People with Turcot syndrome who have the APC gene are also at risk of a specific type of brain cancer called medulloblastoma.

Rare inherited syndromes linked to colorectal cancer

  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS): People with this inherited condition tend to have freckles around the mouth (and sometimes on their hands and feet) and a special type of polyp called hamartomas in their digestive tracts. These people are at a much higher risk for colorectal cancer, as well as other cancers, such as breast, ovary, and pancreas. They usually are diagnosed at a younger than usual age. This syndrome is caused by mutations in the STK11 (LKB1) gene.
  • MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP): People with this syndrome develop many colon polyps. These will almost always become cancer if not watched closely with regular colonoscopies. These people also have an increased risk of other cancers of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and thyroid. This syndrome is caused by mutations in the MUTYH gene (which is involved in “proofreading” the DNA and fixing any mistakes) and often leads to cancer at a younger age.

Since many of these syndromes are linked to colorectal cancer at a young age and also linked to other types of cancer, identifying families with these inherited syndromes is important. It lets doctors recommend specific steps such as screening and other preventive measures when the person is younger. Information on risk assessment, and genetic counseling and testing for these syndromes can be found in Genetic Testing, Screening, and Prevention for People with a Strong Family History of Colorectal Cancer.

Your racial and ethnic background

African Americans have the highest colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates of all racial groups in the US.

Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews) have one of the highest colorectal cancer risks of any ethnic group in the world.

Having type 2 diabetes

People with type 2 (usually non-insulin dependent) diabetes have an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Both type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer share some of the same risk factors (such as being overweight and physical inactivity). But even after taking these factors into account, people with type 2 diabetes still have an increased risk. They also tend to have a less favorable prognosis (outlook) after diagnosis.

Factors with unclear effects on colorectal cancer risk

Night shift work

Some studies suggest working a night shift regularly might raise the risk of rectal cancer. This might be due to changes in levels of melatonin, a hormone that responds to changes in light. More research is needed.

Previous treatment for certain cancers

Some studies have found that men who survive testicular cancer seem to have a higher rate of colorectal cancer and some other cancers. This might be because of the treatments they have received, such as radiation therapy.

Several studies have suggested that men who had radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer might have a higher risk of rectal cancer because the rectum receives some radiation during treatment. Most of these studies are based on men treated in the 1980s and 1990s, when radiation treatments were less precise than they are today. The effect of more modern radiation methods on rectal cancer risk is not clear, but research continues to be done in this area.

  • Written by
  • References

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors andoncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

(Video) Colorectal Cancer: Risk Factors and Screening Recommendations

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2020. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2020.

American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2020.

Ballester V, Rashtak S, Boardman L. Clinical and molecular features of young-onset colorectal cancer. World J Gastroenterol. 2016; 22(5):1736-1744.

Berger AH and Pandolfi PP. Ch 5 - Cancer Susceptibility Syndromes. In: DeVita VT, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds.DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’sCancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 11thed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott-Williams & Wilkins; 2019.

Bostrom PJ, Soloway MS. Secondary cancer after radiotherapy for prostate cancer: Should we be more aware of the risk? Eur Urol. 2007;52:973-982.

Chung DC. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of familial adenomatous polyposis. Rutgeerts P and Grover S, eds. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. https://www.uptodate.com (Accessed on February 05, 2020.)

Dashti SG, Win AK, Hardikar SS, et al. Physical activity and the risk of colorectal cancer in Lynch syndrome. Int J Cancer. 2018;143(9):2250–2260. doi:10.1002/ijc.31611.

Grover S and Stoffel E. MUTYH-associated polyposis. Lamont JT and Robson KM, eds. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. https://www.uptodate.com (Accessed on February 05, 2020.)

Lawler M, Johnston B, Van Schaeybroeck S, Salto-Tellez M, Wilson R, Dunlop M, and Johnston PG. Chapter 74 – Colorectal Cancer. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Dorshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds.Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier: 2020.

Libutti SK, Saltz LB, Willett CG, and Levine RA. Ch 62 - Cancer of the Colon. In: DeVita VT, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds.DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’sCancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 11thed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott-Williams & Wilkins; 2019.

(Video) What are the risk factors for colorectal cancer?

Lynch HT, de la Chapelle A. Hereditary colorectal cancer. N Engl J Med. 2003;348:919–932.

Macrae FA. Colorectal cancer: Epidemiology, risk factors, and protective factors. Goldberg RM and Seres D, eds. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. https://www.uptodate.com (Accessed on February 05, 2020.)

McMaster M, Feuer EJ, Tucker MA. New Malignancies Following Cancer of the Male Genital Tract. In: Curtis RE, Freedman DM, Ron E, Ries LAG, Hacker DG, Edwards BK, Tucker MA, Fraumeni JF Jr. (eds). New Malignancies Among Cancer Survivors: SEER Cancer Registries, 1973-2000. National Cancer Institute. NIH Publ. No. 05-5302. Bethesda, MD, 2006. Accessed at http://seer.cancer.gov/archive/publications/mpmono/MPMonograph_complete.pdf on February 6, 2020.

National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query (PDQ). Colorectal Cancer Prevention. 2019. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/colorectal-prevention-pdq on February 06, 2020.

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center.Turcot syndrome, 8/29/2012. Accessed at https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/420/turcot-syndrome on February 5, 2020.

Nieder AM, Porter MP, Soloway MS. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer increases subsequent risk of bladder and rectal cancer: A population based cohort study. J Urol. 2008;180:2005-2009; discussion 2009-10.

Mazonakis M, Varveris C, Lyraraki E, Damilakis J. Radiotherapy for stage I seminoma of the testis: Organ equivalent dose to partially in-field structures and second cancer risk estimates on the basis of a mechanistic, bell-shaped, and plateau model. Med Phys. 2015;42(11):6309-6316.

National Cancer Institute. Genetics of Colorectal Cancer (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/hp/colorectal-genetics-pdq#link/_2606. Accessed February 7, 2020.

Nørgaard M, Farkas DK, Pedersen L, et al. Irritable bowel syndrome and risk of colorectal cancer: a Danish nationwide cohort study. Br J Cancer. 2011;104(7):1202–1206. doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.65.

Papantoniou K, Devore EE, Massa J, et al. Rotating night shift work and colorectal cancer risk in the nurses' health studies. Int J Cancer. 2018;143(11):2709–2717. doi:10.1002/ijc.31655.

Parent ME, El-Zein M, Rousseau MC, et al. Night Work and the Risk of Cancer Among Men. Am J Epidemiol. 2012; 176(9):751-759.

Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, et al. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention.CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.2020;70(4). doi:10.3322/caac.21591. Accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21591 on June 9, 2020.

Travis LB, Fosså SD, Schonfeld SJ, et al. Second cancers among 40,576 testicular cancer patients: focus on long-term survivors. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005;97(18):1354-1365.

Wallis CJ, Mahar AL, Choo R, et al. Second malignancies after radiotherapy for prostate cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis.BMJ. 2016;352:i851. Published 2016 Mar 2. doi:10.1136/bmj.i851.

Win AK. Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer): Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. Lamont JT and Grover S, eds. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. https://www.uptodate.com (Accessed on February 05, 2020.)

Zhu Z, Zhao S, Liu Y, et al. Risk of secondary rectal cancer and colon cancer after radiotherapy for prostate cancer: a meta-analysis.Int J Colorectal Dis. 2018;33(9):1149-1158. doi:10.1007/s00384-018-3114-7.

References

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2020. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2020.

(Video) Risk factors for colorectal cancer

American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2020.

Ballester V, Rashtak S, Boardman L. Clinical and molecular features of young-onset colorectal cancer. World J Gastroenterol. 2016; 22(5):1736-1744.

Berger AH and Pandolfi PP. Ch 5 - Cancer Susceptibility Syndromes. In: DeVita VT, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds.DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’sCancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 11thed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott-Williams & Wilkins; 2019.

Bostrom PJ, Soloway MS. Secondary cancer after radiotherapy for prostate cancer: Should we be more aware of the risk? Eur Urol. 2007;52:973-982.

Chung DC. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of familial adenomatous polyposis. Rutgeerts P and Grover S, eds. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. https://www.uptodate.com (Accessed on February 05, 2020.)

Dashti SG, Win AK, Hardikar SS, et al. Physical activity and the risk of colorectal cancer in Lynch syndrome. Int J Cancer. 2018;143(9):2250–2260. doi:10.1002/ijc.31611.

Grover S and Stoffel E. MUTYH-associated polyposis. Lamont JT and Robson KM, eds. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. https://www.uptodate.com (Accessed on February 05, 2020.)

Lawler M, Johnston B, Van Schaeybroeck S, Salto-Tellez M, Wilson R, Dunlop M, and Johnston PG. Chapter 74 – Colorectal Cancer. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Dorshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds.Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier: 2020.

Libutti SK, Saltz LB, Willett CG, and Levine RA. Ch 62 - Cancer of the Colon. In: DeVita VT, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds.DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’sCancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 11thed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott-Williams & Wilkins; 2019.

Lynch HT, de la Chapelle A. Hereditary colorectal cancer. N Engl J Med. 2003;348:919–932.

Macrae FA. Colorectal cancer: Epidemiology, risk factors, and protective factors. Goldberg RM and Seres D, eds. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. https://www.uptodate.com (Accessed on February 05, 2020.)

McMaster M, Feuer EJ, Tucker MA. New Malignancies Following Cancer of the Male Genital Tract. In: Curtis RE, Freedman DM, Ron E, Ries LAG, Hacker DG, Edwards BK, Tucker MA, Fraumeni JF Jr. (eds). New Malignancies Among Cancer Survivors: SEER Cancer Registries, 1973-2000. National Cancer Institute. NIH Publ. No. 05-5302. Bethesda, MD, 2006. Accessed at http://seer.cancer.gov/archive/publications/mpmono/MPMonograph_complete.pdf on February 6, 2020.

National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query (PDQ). Colorectal Cancer Prevention. 2019. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/colorectal-prevention-pdq on February 06, 2020.

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center.Turcot syndrome, 8/29/2012. Accessed at https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/420/turcot-syndrome on February 5, 2020.

Nieder AM, Porter MP, Soloway MS. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer increases subsequent risk of bladder and rectal cancer: A population based cohort study. J Urol. 2008;180:2005-2009; discussion 2009-10.

Mazonakis M, Varveris C, Lyraraki E, Damilakis J. Radiotherapy for stage I seminoma of the testis: Organ equivalent dose to partially in-field structures and second cancer risk estimates on the basis of a mechanistic, bell-shaped, and plateau model. Med Phys. 2015;42(11):6309-6316.

National Cancer Institute. Genetics of Colorectal Cancer (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/hp/colorectal-genetics-pdq#link/_2606. Accessed February 7, 2020.

Nørgaard M, Farkas DK, Pedersen L, et al. Irritable bowel syndrome and risk of colorectal cancer: a Danish nationwide cohort study. Br J Cancer. 2011;104(7):1202–1206. doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.65.

Papantoniou K, Devore EE, Massa J, et al. Rotating night shift work and colorectal cancer risk in the nurses' health studies. Int J Cancer. 2018;143(11):2709–2717. doi:10.1002/ijc.31655.

Parent ME, El-Zein M, Rousseau MC, et al. Night Work and the Risk of Cancer Among Men. Am J Epidemiol. 2012; 176(9):751-759.

Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, et al. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention.CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.2020;70(4). doi:10.3322/caac.21591. Accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21591 on June 9, 2020.

Travis LB, Fosså SD, Schonfeld SJ, et al. Second cancers among 40,576 testicular cancer patients: focus on long-term survivors. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005;97(18):1354-1365.

Wallis CJ, Mahar AL, Choo R, et al. Second malignancies after radiotherapy for prostate cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis.BMJ. 2016;352:i851. Published 2016 Mar 2. doi:10.1136/bmj.i851.

Win AK. Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer): Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. Lamont JT and Grover S, eds. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. https://www.uptodate.com (Accessed on February 05, 2020.)

Zhu Z, Zhao S, Liu Y, et al. Risk of secondary rectal cancer and colon cancer after radiotherapy for prostate cancer: a meta-analysis.Int J Colorectal Dis. 2018;33(9):1149-1158. doi:10.1007/s00384-018-3114-7.

Last Revised: June 29, 2020

(Video) Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors & Symptoms | Memorial Sloan Kettering

FAQs

What does a positive cologuard test mean? ›

Abnormal result (positive result) suggests that the test found some pre-cancer or cancer cells in your stool sample. However, the Cologuard test does not diagnose cancer. You will need further tests to make a diagnosis of cancer. Your provider will likely suggest a colonoscopy.

Which factor decreases risk of colorectal cancer? ›

Some studies suggest that people may reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer by increasing physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco.

Why are colonoscopies not recommended after age 75? ›

There are risks involved with colonoscopy, such as bleeding and perforation of the colon, and also risks involved with the preparation, especially in older people,” Dr. Umar said.

What is the main cause of colon polyps? ›

Mutations in certain genes can cause cells to continue dividing even when new cells aren't needed. In the colon and rectum, this unregulated growth can cause polyps to form. Polyps can develop anywhere in your large intestine.

What is a risk factor for colorectal cancer? ›

A low-fiber and high-fat diet, or a diet high in processed meats. Overweight and obesity. Alcohol consumption. Tobacco use.

What is the most important risk factor for colorectal cancer? ›

In fact, the links between diet, weight, and exercise and colorectal cancer risk are some of the strongest for any type of cancer.
  • Being overweight or obese. ...
  • Not being physically active. ...
  • Certain types of diets. ...
  • Smoking. ...
  • Alcohol use. ...
  • Being older. ...
  • A personal history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.

What are the main risk factors for colon cancer? ›

Colorectal Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention
  • Age. The risk of colorectal cancer increases as people get older. ...
  • Race. ...
  • Gender. ...
  • Family history of colorectal cancer (updated 11/2022). ...
  • Rare inherited conditions. ...
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). ...
  • Adenomatous polyps (adenomas). ...
  • Personal history of certain types of cancer.

At what age do you no longer get a colonoscopy? ›

There's no upper age limit for colon cancer screening. But most medical organizations in the United States agree that the benefits of screening decline after age 75 for most people and there's little evidence to support continuing screening after age 85. Discuss colon cancer screening with your health care provider.

What age does Medicare stop paying for colonoscopy? ›

Original Medicare will cover the cost of anesthesia for a colonoscopy if you require the service. Does Medicare cover a colonoscopy after age 75? Yes. There is no age limit for Medicare coverage of a colonoscopy.

Should an 84 year old have a colonoscopy? ›

Colonoscopy in very elderly patients carries a greater risk of complications and morbidity than in younger patients. Thus, colonoscopy in elderly patients should be performed only after careful consideration of potential benefits, risks and patient preferences.

Can stress cause polyps? ›

Colon polyp development involves genetic and epigenetic changes and environmental effectors such as stress in this process can drive the normal colonic epithelial cells to hyperplastic and adenomas [25-27].

What foods prevent colon polyps? ›

Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Colon Polyps
  • Consume whole grains.
  • Eat foods containing dietary fiber.
  • Consume dairy products.
  • Take calcium supplements.
  • Eat less red meat.
  • Consume less processed meat.
  • Reduce the intake of alcoholic drinks.
13 Dec 2019

What are the signs of polyps in your colon? ›

Symptoms of bowel polyps

a small amount of slime (mucus) or blood in your poo (rectal bleeding) diarrhoea or constipation. pain in your tummy (abdominal pain)

Is stress a risk factor for colorectal cancer? ›

A meta-analysis of 12 cohort studies in Europe found no link between work stress and the risk of lung, colorectal, breast, or prostate cancers (8).

How common is colorectal cancer? ›

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. The American Cancer Society's estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2022 are: 106,180 new cases of colon cancer. 44,850 new cases of rectal cancer.

Why is colorectal cancer so common? ›

Why is there an uptick? Nobody knows for sure why colorectal cancer numbers are rising in young people. Sedentary lifestyle, overweight and obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, low-fiber, high-fat diets or diets high in processed meats, and other environmental factors have all been associated with the disease.

Where is colorectal cancer most common? ›

Colorectal cancer rates
RankCountryNumber
World1,931,590
1Hungary9,793
2Slovakia4,821
3Norway4,976
7 more rows

What can cause a positive result in cologuard? ›

If you receive a positive result on your Cologuard test, it is likely that you already have colorectal cancer or pre-cancerous colon polyps that are causing bleeding.

How common is a positive cologuard test? ›

Cologuard has a 14% false-positive rate. While 14% isn't awful, these false-positive tests do tend to generate quite a bit of unnecessary angst in the affected patients until they can eventually undergo a diagnostic colonoscopy.

Can hemorrhoids cause a positive cologuard test? ›

Yes, hemorrhoids are one possible cause of false positive Cologuard tests. Most inaccurate results occur because there is blood present in the stool, and hemorrhoids are one cause of blood in the stool.

Does cologuard tell if you have polyps? ›

Cologuard test results

These stool-based tests are limited in their ability to detect polyps, and they do not differentiate between cancer and benign polyps. This can result in a positive stool test that creates unnecessary worry.

What percentage of positive cologuard tests are polyps? ›

Cologuard Test: Detection Not Prevention

Cologuard can only detect 42% of large polyps, while a colonoscopy can detect 95% of large polyps. When polyps are detected during a colonoscopy they are removed at the same time. If polyps are detected with Cologuard, a colonoscopy must be performed to remove them.

Can foods cause a false positive cologuard test? ›

These tests do not require you to clear your bowels nor eat only clear liquids before you gather your sample. However, you may need to restrict certain foods or medications. These dietary restrictions may increase the accuracy of the test as some foods can cause false-positive and false-negative results.

What causes a positive colon test? ›

Your test could show a positive result when you have no cancer (false-positive result) if you have bleeding from other sources, such as a stomach ulcer, hemorrhoid, or even blood swallowed from your mouth or your nose. Having a fecal occult blood test may lead to additional testing.

How often should you have a colonoscopy if precancerous polyps are found? ›

In 1 to 7 years, depending on a variety of factors: The number, size and type of polyps removed; if you have a history of polyps in previous colonoscopy procedures; if you have certain genetic syndromes; or if you have a family history of colon cancer.

How accurate is colonoscopy? ›

There's no debate that colonoscopy is still the most effective screening exam for colon cancer. The first-rate exam not only detects colon cancers with about 98% accuracy, but it also allows doctors to remove precancerous and cancerous polyps during the procedure.

Are most polyps precancerous? ›

Doctors don't know why colon polyps form, and not every type of polyp is considered precancerous. However, two-thirds of polyps found through colonoscopy are likely precancerous, Dr. Sand said.

Can you see hemorrhoids on colonoscopy? ›

A colonoscopy can quickly discover any internal hemorrhoids and other problems including colon cancer. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins, and doctors can immediately distinguish between them, anal fissures, colon polyps, or colon cancer.

Should I be worried about a positive fit test? ›

Abnormal or Positive Results

An abnormal or positive FIT result means that there was blood in your stool at the time of the test. A colon polyp, a pre-cancerous polyp, or cancer can cause a positive stool test. With a positive test, there is a small chance that you have early-stage colorectal cancer.

Who Cannot use cologuard? ›

Cologuard is not recommended for higher-risk patients that have had colon cancer, have a family history, have inflammatory bowel disorders like Crohn's disease or have had a personal history of colon polyps.

Can a doctor tell if polyp is cancerous during colonoscopy? ›

Most polyps are benign (not cancerous). Your doctor can tell if a colon polyp is cancerous during a colonoscopy by collecting tissue to biopsy. The results of the biopsy are typically sent to your doctor within a week. Only 5% to 10% of all polyps become cancerous.

Can you see polyps in a colonoscopy? ›

Colonoscopy, the most sensitive test for colorectal polyps and cancer. If polyps are found, your doctor may remove them immediately or take tissue samples (biopsies) for analysis. Virtual colonoscopy ( CT colonography), a minimally invasive test that uses a CT scan to view your colon.

What do they do if they find polyps during a colonoscopy? ›

Polyps are usually removed when they are found on colonoscopy, which eliminates the chance for that polyp to become cancerous. Procedure — The medical term for removing polyps is polypectomy. Most polypectomies can be performed through a colonoscope.

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