How do you get colon cancer?


Quick Answer

Age, race, gender, environment, diet and genetics are causative factors in the development of colon cancer, according to About.com, as are obesity, not getting enough exercise, smoking and polyps. Drinking alcohol can also place a person at risk of contracting this type of cancer.

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Full Answer

Age is the primary factor in the development of colon cancer, notes About.com. Those who reach the age of 50 are more likely to develop polyps, which are formations in the colon that can lead to cancer. Tobacco smoke is a hazard that funnels carcinogenic properties to a person's colon. Using tobacco also increases the size of polyps in the body.

A patient's medical history can increase the chances of colon cancer development, especially if there is a history of bowel inflammation or any type of cancer, reports About.com. Inflammatory bowel disease is an ailment that can lead to cancer of the colon, and patients who have it longer are more prone to getting cancer.

Genetic-based colon cancer is responsible for 25 percent of all cases, explains About.com. There are two genetic mutations, HNPCC and FAP, that can lead to cancerous lesions.

The risk of colon cancer is higher if a direct family member has had the disease, and chances of developing colon cancer are higher if more than one relative has had the affliction, claims eMedicineHealth. A person is at an even greater risk if a family member acquired the disease at a younger age.

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