Risk Factors

Are you at risk for colorectal cancer?

You may be at high risk for developing colorectal cancer if you are African American, have a family history of polyps or colon cancer, or have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. Talk with your doctor about potentially being screened earlier than age 50.

How can you lower your risk?

  • Get screened (this is the only way to prevent colorectal cancer)
  • Schedule regular colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 50 (talk to your doctor about screening before age 50 if have a personal or family history of polyps or colorectal cancer)
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eat low-fat foods containing folate/folic acid such as leafy green vegetables or supplement with a multivitamin
  • Exercise at least 20 minutes three to four days a week. Any physical activity such as walking, gardening, or climbing stairs helps reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer
  • Stay away from drugs
  • Never use tobacco products. For help with quitting, see the Iowa Quitline
  • Drink alcohol in moderation