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Are You at Increased Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

Are You at Increased Risk for Colorectal Cancer? | ASCRS

Alternate Titles: 
Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment


Colorectal cancer - cancer of the colon and rectum - is the second leading cancer killer in the United States affecting both men and women.  Your risk increases as you age.  Some people are at even higher risk depending on their personal or family history.  The good news is that colorectal cancer is preventable and, if detected early, curable.


Answer the following questions to see if you are at risk for developing colorectal cancer.

  1. Are you aged 50 or older?
  2. Do you or a family member have a history of colon polyps?
  3. Do you or a family member have a history of colon cancer?
  4. Do you have a chronic inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease?
  5. Do you or a family member have a history of ovarian, endometrial or stomach cancer?
  6. Are you of African American or Hispanic descent?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you could be at risk of developing this disease.  Talk to your colorectal surgeon or other healthcare provider about getting screened for colorectal cancer (screening means getting tested for a disease even if you don't have symptoms).

Screening can prevent colorectal cancer and healthy lifestyle choices can help. There are some things you can do to lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer.


  • Get screened regularly beginning at age 50 (Age 45 if you are African American)
  • Exercise and maintain a normal body weight.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and high-fiber foods.
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat.
  • Don't smoke, and drink alcohol only in moderation.

To learn more about colorectal cancer, or to locate a colorectal surgeon in your area, visit the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) website at Click on the Find a Surgeon search engine to find a colon and rectal surgeon in your area.


Colon and rectal surgeons are experts in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. They have completed advanced surgical training in the treatment of these diseases as well as full general surgical training. Board-certified colon and rectal surgeons complete residencies in general surgery and colon and rectal surgery, and pass intensive examinations conducted by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery. They are well-versed in the treatment of both benign and malignant diseases of the colon, rectum and anus and are able to perform routine screening examinations and surgically treat conditions if indicated to do so.


The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons is dedicated to ensuring high-quality patient care by advancing the science, prevention and management of disorders and diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. These brochures are inclusive but not prescriptive. Their purpose is to provide information on diseases and processes, rather than dictate a specific form of treatment. They are intended for the use of all practitioners, health care workers and patients who desire information about the management of the conditions addressed. It should be recognized that these brochures should not be deemed inclusive of all proper methods of care or exclusive of methods of care reasonably directed to obtain the same results. The ultimate judgment regarding the propriety of any specific procedure must be made by the physician in light of all the circumstances presented by the individual patient.