Rectal Cancer Causes
In many cases, the risk factors of rectal cancer are uncontrollable. For example, the overall risk of having colorectal cancer increases with age, particularly after age 50. People who have other intestinal conditions, including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, as well as those with previous polyps or growths in the colon, also have increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Genetically inherited conditions, like Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), can also increase the odds of having rectal cancer.
Certain lifestyle factors are also linked to rectal cancer. Although not direct causes, these circumstances may place certain people at greater risk of developing malignancies:
- Being overweight or obese
- Not getting regular exercise
- Having a diet that is high in fat and/or processed food and red meats
- Drinking excessive alcohol
The presence of one or more of these factors doesn’t mean that someone will necessarily develop rectal cancer. However, in some cases, high-risk individuals may be instructed to undergo colonoscopies and other screening procedures before the typically recommended age of 50. During these examinations, medical professionals can detect polyps that could develop into cancer, as well as tumors that have already formed.