Colorectal Cancer: What’s Your Risk?

Last Updated February 29, 2024

What to Know about Colorectal Cancer

Among the cancers that affect men and women, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. Here’s what you need to know about colorectal cancer and how to reduce your risk:

  • Colorectal cancer occurs when abnormal growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum. Over time, these polyps may become cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to know your risk and get screened regularly.
  • The biggest risk factor is age; more than 90% of cases are in people ages 50 and older.
  • Other risk factors include:
    • Having a family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
    • Having inflammatory bowel disease or certain genetic syndromes
    • Lack of regular exercise
    • Eating a diet low in fiber and high in fat
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Using tobacco
  • The most effective way to reduce your risk for colorectal cancer is to get screened routinely, starting at age 50  (if not sooner, as recommended by your doctor).

Schedule Your Screening

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. Routine screenings can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment is most effective. Your routine colorectal cancer screening is considered preventive care, which is 100% covered by your RRD national Medical Program option when received in-network.

An Important Note to Men:

Talk with your doctor about your risk for prostate cancer, which also increases with age. Discuss your screening options and find out what’s right for you.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention