AM I AT RISK?

There are several risk factors for colorectal cancer including age, genetics and lifestyle choices. Answer the questions below to learn whether you or your loved ones are at risk as well as how you can prevent colorectal cancer and detect it early.

  1. Does colorectal cancer run in your family?

    Congratulations for talking with your family members about colorectal cancer. A family history of colorectal cancer or inherited colorectal cancer syndromes puts you at risk for colorectal cancer.

    If you have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or benign (non cancerous) colorectal polyps, you are at risk.

    One more thing: if you have a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), you are also at risk.

    To help determine your risk, complete this family medical history chart.

    Screening usually starts at 50. Talk with your healthcare professional now about when you should start screening.

    Great, you already know about your family history!

    People with a family history of colorectal cancer, colorectal cancer syndromes or benign (non cancerous) colorectal polyps are at risk for colorectal cancer. Individuals with a personal history of colorectal cancer or benign colorectal polyps are also at risk for the disease. Although you do not fall into this category, other factors can influence risk. As you continue you will learn about other risk factors. If you have no other risk factors, start screening at 50.

    To help determine your risk, complete this family medical history chart. If you already know your family does not have a history of colorectal cancer, share this chart with your friends.

    Make it a priority to talk to your family about colorectal cancer. Ask if your family has a history of colorectal cancer, polyps or inherited colorectal cancer or inherited colorectal cancer syndromes. If you have a family history of any of these, you are at risk for colorectal cancer. If you have a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), you are also at risk.

    To help determine your risk, complete this family medical history chart and share it with your health care professional and other family members.

    Screening usually starts at 50, but if you do have a family history of any of these family risk factors, talk with your healthcare professional now about when you should begin screening.

    If you find out you do not have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may still be at risk for colorectal cancer. As you continue you will learn about other risk factors. If you have no other risk factors, start screening at 50.

  2. Are you 50 or older?

    Get screened if you haven’t already. Set up an appointment to talk to your health care professional.

    There are several colorectal screening tests available. If you have not been screened, consider one of the tests below. If you have been screened, give yourself a pat on the back! You can use this list to find out when you need to be tested again.

    Tests that find pre-cancer and cancer:Screening intervals:
    ColonoscopyEvery 10 years
    Virtual colonoscopyEvery 5 years
    Flexible sigmoidoscopyEvery 5 years
    Double-contrast barium enemaEvery 5 years
    Tests that mainly find cancer:
    Stool occult blood test (FOBT) (guaiac)Every year
    Stool immunochemical test (FIT)Every year
    Stool DNA test (sDNA)Ask your healthcare professional because technology is evolving

    An abnormal result of a virtual colonoscopy or a double-contrast barium enema, or a positive FOBT, FIT or sDNA test, should be followed up with a colonoscopy.

    Although 50 is the age for people of average risk to begin colorectal cancer screening, individuals under 50 can also be at risk and may need to start screening at an earlier age and be screened more often.

    People at risk include:

    • People who smoke
    • People who are overweight or obese, especially those who carry fat around their waists
    • People who are not active and don’t exercise
    • People who drink alcohol in excess, especially men
    • People who eat a lot of red meat (such as beef, pork or lamb) or processed meat (such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs or cold cuts)
    • People with personal or family histories of colorectal cancer or benign (not cancerous) colorectal polyps
    • People with personal histories of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
    • People with family histories of inherited colorectal cancer or inherited colorectal problems

    Talk to your health care professional about your risks for colorectal cancer.

  3. Do you have someone in your family who is 50 or older?

    What can you do to help your family members prevent colorectal cancer or to detect it early?

    Age 50 is the recommended age for people at average risk for colorectal cancer to begin screening. Send a Screen-A-Gram to your relatives to remind them to get screened.

    Click here to create one for each of your relatives over 50.

    Empower your family by sharing your new knowledge about risk factors and ways to reduce risk such as making healthy lifestyle choices.

    Although 50 is the age for people of average risk to begin colorectal cancer screening, individuals under 50 can also be at risk and may need to start screening at an earlier age and be screened more often.

    People at risk include:

    • People who smoke
    • People who are overweight or obese, especially those who carry fat around their waists.
    • People who are not active and don’t exercise
    • People who drink alcohol in excess, especially men
    • People who eat a lot of red meat (such as beef, pork or lamb) or processed meat (such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs or cold cuts)
    • People with personal or family histories of colorectal cancer or benign (not cancerous) colorectal polyps
    • People with personal histories of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
    • People with family histories of inherited colorectal cancer or inherited colorectal problems

    Talk to your health care professional about your risks for colorectal cancer.

  4. Do you make healthy lifestyle choices?

    Making healthy lifestyle choices can help you reduce your colorectal cancer risk. Below is a list of healthy habits you probably already have.

    Age 50 is the recommended age for people at average risk for colorectal cancer to begin screening. Send a Screen-A-Gram to your relatives to remind them to get screened.

    • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
    • If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink a day if you are a woman or two drinks a day if you are a man.
    • Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat.

    (More research is needed to know if certain foods or supplements lower the risk of colorectal cancer.)

    Keep up the good work!

    You probably already know this, but these are risk factors for colorectal cancer: smoking, eating a lot of red meat, drinking a lot of alcohol or having an unhealthy weight.

    Here are some changes you can make to reduce your cancer risk. Challenge yourself. Which change will you start making today?

    • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
    • If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink a day if you are a woman or two drinks a day if you are a man.
    • Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat.

    (More research is needed to know if certain foods or supplements lower the risk of colorectal cancer.)

    What would it take to get you to change one of these habits?

    Making healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce your colorectal cancer risk. There are many ways to live healthfully. Here are some habits to improve your overall health and reduce your cancer risk:

    • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
    • If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink a day if you are a woman or two drinks a day if you are a man.
    • Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat.

    (More research is needed to know if certain foods or supplements lower the risk of colorectal cancer.)

 

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