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Dr. Praveen Kammar

MS, MRCS, MCH

Surgical Oncologist

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Risk Factors of Colon Cancer

Risk factors that increase risk of colon cancer

Colorectal or colon cancer begins when the cells lining the colon or rectum ( mucosa) become abnormal and start dividing without control. Most commonly this uncontrolled growth initially results in small outpouchings called polyps. When the cells in polyps gather more genetic alterations they become cancerous and start spreading.

Usually, it is not very tough to treat colon cancer. But colon cancer does not become apparent until the third stage as it doesn’t show any symptoms early on. Hence,  It is important to have a colon screening test. Especially after the age of sixty, doctors suggest men take colon cancer screening tests regularly.

 

Risk Factors 

risk factors of colon cancer
Risk factors are patient characteristics that indicate an increased risk of developing colorectal cancers in future. These risk factors are easily recognizable and hence give hints at which individuals need to be monitored vigilantly.
Overweight or Obese
Being overweight is something that increases the chances of diseases. A healthy weight is not only good for your body, but it also helps you to keep fit. Obesity is being overweight and having more weight than desirable based on your height.   Obesity increases the level of serum leptin. Serum Leptin is a factor that increases the chances of colon cancer. Doctors notice that Leptin increases the growth of polyps that can transform into cancerous cells. 
Alcohol
Not only for Colon cancer, but Alcohol is a major risk factor for many cancers. Research says that Consuming Alcohol can cause a lot of harm that increases the chances of getting cancer. 
  • Most of the alcohol contains Ethanol which is a toxic chemical for the human body. The scientists pointed out that it is a human carcinogen. Acetaldehyde which is the breakdown product of alcohol can damage your genes and DNA and can make it cancerous.
  • Alcohol can generate Oxygen species that harm proteins, Lipids, and DNA.
  • It can break down the important nutrients that increase the risk of getting cancer.
A must read, How to Know If You Have Colon Cancer

Smoking

Doctors observed a 50% higher risk of getting colon cancer in smokers. People who smoke a packet of cigarettes a day have a 75% higher chance of getting cancer. This applies to both men and women. Even if you stopped smoking 10 years ago, you are still at a higher risk for colorectal cancer than those who have never smoked. The harm that is caused during the smoking period continues to harm your body.

When you are smoking, the toxins in the smoke break down the DNA and help your polyps to mutate.  They also increase the speed of mutation. So it’s better to quit smoking if you want to be free from colon cancer.

Food

Red meat and processed meat increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Foods cooked at very high temp also do the same. 

Inflammatory bowel disease

If you have a history of bowel inflammation, that can transform into colon cancer. Consult with your doctor if you need to take some medicines to prevent it. Be alert and go through the Colon cancer screening.

History of colon cancer

If you had Colon cancer earlier and you recovered from it you are at higher risk of colorectal cancer. Hence it is advisable that you undergo regular screening.

Risks that can’t be avoided

There are a few risks in Colon cancer that you can’t avoid.

  • Ageing:

The chances of getting colon cancer increase after sixty.Especially for men. You can’t get rid of this risk. If you have a family history of Colon Cancer, you can go through a screening test. As colon cancer is easy to treat in the early stages, be alert when you are ageing.

  • Inherited Syndrome:

Familial adenomatous polyposis, Peutz Jeghers syndrome, Lynch syndrome, and MYUTH syndrome have a high risk of colorectal cancer. 

  • Family history:

The first is you had a family history of colon cancer. If anyone in your family had colon cancer, it increases your risk of getting it. So be careful and go through the screening test.

Conclusion

So here are the main factors that enhance the chance of getting colon cancer. Please be safe and try to avoid alcohol and smoking. Keep a healthy diet, and do exercise. It will help you reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

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