Risk Factors & Prevention Who’s at risk for colorectal cancer? Researchers have found several risk factors that may increase a person's chance of developing colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer. They include: Age – if you’re past age 50 Personal history – if you’ve had adenomatous polyps, a previous bout of colorectal cancer, or an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease Family history – if parents or siblings have had adenomatous polyps or colorectal cancer Lifestyle – if you eat a meat-heavy diet, are physically inactive, are obese, smoke, or are a heavy drinker Certain diseases – if you have type-2 diabetes, or you’ve ever had Turcot syndrome or Peutz-Jeghers syndrome Race – African Americans have the highest risk for colorectal cancer. How can you help prevent colorectal cancer? The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened and catch the signs early. In addition, apply the following guidelines: Diet, weight and exercise. It is important to manage the risk factors you can control, such as diet, body weight, and exercise. Eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods, and avoiding high-fat, low-fiber foods, plus exercising appropriately, even small amounts on a regular basis, can be helpful. Drug therapy. Some studies have shown that low doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, and hormone replacement therapy for post-menopausal women may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. These drugs also have their own risks, so it is important to discuss this with your physician. Screenings. Perhaps most important to the prevention of colorectal cancer is regular screenings. Screening may find some colorectal polyps that can be removed before they have a chance to become cancerous. Because some colorectal cancers cannot be prevented, finding them early is the best way to improve the chance of successful treatment, and reduce the number of deaths caused by colorectal cancer. To make an appointment for a colorectal cancer screening, or to schedule a consult with one of our leading colorectal cancer experts, please call (585) 275-URMC (8762).