Men and women aged 50 years and above have an increased risk of colorectal cancer
Among the races in Singapore, the Chinese have a higher risk of colorectal cancer.
3. Personal History
Individuals who have been detected with colorectal polyps or diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the past may be at a higher risk of experiencing a recurrence and are advised to seek regular screening.
4. Family History
Some individuals inherit a rare disease called familial polyposis in which many colorectal polyps develop at a young age. For these individuals, the risk of developing colorectal cancer is very high (80 to 100%). Such individuals should consider having the colon removed before the age of 40. Individuals who have relatives with polyps or colorectal cancer are also at a higher risk of colorectal cancer although this risk is lower compared to one with familial polyposis.
5. Ulcerative Colitis
This is a disease affecting the bowels which, in the long term, leads to inflammation and cancerous changes. People with with this condition have a significant risk of colorectal cancer.
Current users of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) are at a lower risk of colorectal cancer, although this protection disappears within 5 years of stopping HRT. Aspirin and NSAID (a strong painkiller drug) are known to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. However, it is premature to recommend the routine use of these drugs for this purpose.
7. Sedentary lifestyle and obesity
These interrelated factors increase the risk of colorectal cancer. However, physical activity improves the movement of faeces in the colon and can reduce risk.
8. Dietary Habits
Research has identified certain factors which can affect the risk of colorectal cancer:
|Factors that Increase Colorectal Cancer Risk|
|Meat cooked at high temperatures ||Contains chemicals that are carcinogenic |
|Animal fat ||Is converted to bile acids which can promote cancerous changes in the colon |
|Tobacco and alcohol ||Increase polyp formation |
|Factors that Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk|
|Fibre (vegetables, fruits, bran) ||Improves the movement of faeces and dilutes the amount of carcinogens in the colon |
|Vitamin supplements ||Regular multivites and folates can reduce risk |
|Mineral intake ||Calcuim binds fatty acids and bile acids to reduce risk |
Despite knowledge of these risk factors, the exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown. It is estimated that 50 per cent of colorectal cancer patients have no known risk factors.