With more than 90 percent of cases diagnosed in individuals over the age of 50, the primary risk factor for colorectal cancer is age. Others include:
- Personal history of colon or precancerous polyps, or colorectal, breast or uterine cancer
- Family history of colon or precancerous polyps, or colorectal, breast or uterine cancer
- Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Obesity and physical inactivity
Lynch Syndrome (HNPCC or Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer)
Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer is an inherited syndrome and accounts for 5 percent of all diagnosed cases. Patients with HNPCC have an 80 percent chance of developing colorectal cancer. The “H” stands for hereditary. It is an inherited trait that can be passed from parent to child. “N” stands for non-polyposis and “CC” stands for colorectal cancer. A significant breakthrough in genetics has resulted in a means with which to see if a patient is carrying the genes for HNPCC.