A nurse is giving health education to a patient diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The patient's son asks the nurse what major factor increases the risk of a person having colorectal cancer. The nurse correctly answers the patient with

"Increasing age."


• The major factor that increases a person’s risk for colorectal cancer is increasing age.

• Risk increases dramatically after the age of 50, and 90% of all colorectal cancers are diagnosed after this age. The history of colorectal cancer in a first-degree relative, especially if before the age of 55 years, roughly doubles the risk.

• Other risk factors are weaker than age and family history. People with inflammatory bowel disease have a much higher risk of colorectal cancer but increasing age is still the major risk factor. Colorectal cancers occur in less than 5% of people with a genetic predisposition, including familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary non-polyposis coli. Folic acid supplement increases the risk of prostate cancer.

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