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Are men at higher risk for Colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is more common in men. Men and women are equally at risk for colon cancer, but men are more likely to get rectal cancer. Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is: about 1 in 23 (4.3%) for men and 1 in 25 (4.0%) for women.

Almost all colorectal cancers begin as precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Such polyps can be present in the colon for years before invasive cancer develops. They may not cause any symptoms, especially early on.

Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Depending on where the tumor is, symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

  • Changes in bowel movements, including constipation or diarrhea that doesn’t go away
  • Feeling like you can’t empty your bowels completely (tenesmus) or you urgently need to poop
  • Cramping in your rectum
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Dark patches of blood in or on your stool
  • Long, thin, stringy “pencil stools”
  • Belly discomfort or bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss with no clear cause
  • Pelvic pain
  • Anemia (an unusually low number of red blood cells) because of bleeding in your intestines

There are many risk factors for colon cancer. Here are the risk factors for colon cancer that can be changed.

  1. Being Overweight or Obese People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing and dying from colon cancer. This is especially true for those who have a larger waistline and men.
  2. Physical Inactivity People who are not physically active have a higher risk of developing colon cancer. People who increase their amount of activity can help lower their risk.
  3. Red Meat-Heavy Diets People who eat diets that are high in red meat or processed meats have a higher risk of developing colon cancer. People who eat meats cooked at a high temperature might also have a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Frying, broiling, or grilling meats creates chemicals that may raise cancer risk. It’s not known if other dietary components affect colon cancer risk.
  4. Smoking Long time smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop and die from colon cancer. Smoking is linked to many more cancers than lung cancer. CTA about quitting?
  5. Heavy Alcohol Use People who drink heavily have an increased colon cancer risk. Limiting alcohol lowers the risk of colon cancer and many other kinds of cancer. Men should have no more than two drinks a day. Women should have one drink a day.Some risk factors for colon cancer can’t be changed.
  6. Age The risk of colon cancer increases with age. Although younger people can get colon cancer, it’s more common after 50.
  7. Racial and Ethnic Background African American people have the highest colon cancer incidence and mortality rates of any racial group in the U.S. Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews) have one of the highest colon cancer rates of any ethnic group worldwide.
  8. Medical History There are several risk factors in a person’s medical history that can increase the chances of colon cancer.Colon polyps. Especially if the polyps are large, there are many, or any show dysplasia.Previous colon cancer. Even if it’s been fully removed. Even if the person was young at time of diagnosis.

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). People who have lived with IBD for years often develop dysplasia, which can lead to the development of cancerous cells.

    Type 2 Diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of colon cancer and tend to have a less favorable prognosis.

    Having an Inherited Syndrome. About 5 percent of people who develop colon cancer have an inherited syndrome. The most common inherited syndromes are Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis.

  9. Family Medical HistoryMost people diagnosed with colon cancer don’t’ have a family history of colon cancer or adenomatous polyps. About a third of people diagnosed do.Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you may need a colonoscopy anyway. If you’re over 45 and you’ve never had a colonoscopy or if you’re under 45 and you have an elevated risk of developing colon cancer, it’s time for a colonoscopy. Schedule your colonoscopy today.

45 or above? The time for a colonoscopy is now.

Gastroenterology Consultants of San Antonio (GCSA) accepts most insurances, including HMO, PPO, Medicare and Medicaid plans.

Colonoscopies typically receive excellent insurance coverage, and we accept a wide variety of plans to make screening for colorectal cancer affordable for as many people as possible. However, your plan may still require some out-of-pocket contribution. We offer CareCredit® and in-house financing to make sure you can access this important procedure. To learn more about insurance and financial policies, visit our FAQ.

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