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What are the causes and risk factors of colon cancer?

Doctors aren't really sure what causes colon cancer, or why some people get colon cancer and others don't. They do know that colon cancer is linked to lifestyle, diet, inactivity, and obesity.

Juliet Wilkinson
Oncology Nursing Specialist

Although we are getting closer, science still cannot predict exactly what causes colon cancer in one person, yet not another. We do know that there are a number of risk factors that increase your chances of getting colon cancer. These risk factors include genetic factors (things passed down through your family that you cannot change) as well as lifestyle factors (things you can change). Lifestyle factors may include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, dietary considerations (such as excessive alcohol use or a diet high in fat and red meat) and smoking. Change what you can now, to decrease your risk of colon cancer tomorrow.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.