When you think about your risk of colon cancer it is important to understand that there are things that you can change and things you cannot. You cannot change your age but you can do a lot about your lifestyle. Making changes to your lifestyle can decrease your risk of colon cancer significantly.

Below are 7 major risk factors for colon cancer. Avoiding them can help you keep colon cancer at bay.

1. Age over 50
Age is a major risk factor in the development of colon cancer. Over 90 percent of colon cancer cases happen in people over the age of 50. Of course, you cannot change your age but you can schedule regular screenings in your gastroenterology clinic.

Early detection increases the survival rate from colon cancer significantly. Colonoscopy may be an unpleasant experience, but this is crucial to ensure your overall health.

2. Family history of colon cancer
If any of your relatives has had colon cancer or polyps, your risk of these conditions increases dramatically. In the matter of colon cancer, (and any other cancer), you need to be proactive and take preventative measures ASAP.

Start regular screenings several years before an affected relative was diagnosed. You need to inform the doctor about your family history of colon cancer, so the specialist can keep it in the mind during the screening.

3. Bowel diseases
Certain bowel conditions can increase your risk of colon cancer. People who have had conditions like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease for more than eight years have an increased risk of colon cancer. This happens because these conditions cause persistent colon inflammation. Irritable bowel diseases that involve at least one-third of your colon may also increase your risk of colon cancer.

If you have one of these conditions, you need to schedule regular screening every two years. It is also important to treat any bowel diseases you have to decrease the risk of cancer.

4. Sedentary lifestyle
If you sit or lie down on the couch for several hours from day to day, you put yourself at risk of colon cancer. The longer you remain sedentary, the higher becomes the risk. Sitting in front of the TV for an hour every day can increase your risk of colon cancer by 12 percent.

It is important to stand up and walk at least once an hour to ensure blood flow to your pelvic area. Moving makes your heart beat faster and increases peristalsis. This is a bowel function that removes waste and prevents it from staying in your colon.

5. Excessive weight
Excessive weight is another major risk factor for colon cancer. People with obesity are 30 percent more prone to the development of colon cancer compared to people with normal body weight.

If you are overweight, you need to change your lifestyle and lose excessive weight. Start from eating healthy foods and include moderate physical activity in your routine. This is a good base for a healthier and longer life without cancer.

6. You smoke and drink alcohol regularly
Smoking and drinking alcohol regularly can damage your DNA and provoke the development of cancer at any part of your body. And colon cancer isn’t an exception. Even moderate intake of alcohol can wreak havoc on your digestive system and put you at risk of colon cancer.

If you are a smoker or drinker, you need to change your lifestyle and break these bad habits. A healthy lifestyle can ensure a happier and longer life.

7. You regularly eat high-fat foods
Loading your diet with high-fat foods like red meat can take a toll on your overall well-being and increase the risk of colon cancer and polyps. Processed meats and deli meats can increase the risk even more. These products are often loaded with harmful chemicals and ingredients that are linked to serious health problems.

If you want to decrease your risk of colon cancer, it is crucial to limit the intake of red and processed meat. Make a meat-free day or reduce your portions. You may replace red meat in your diet with chicken, fish, and vegetables that can improve your bowel functions.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.