The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to be screened regularly for the disease. Screening tests for colorectal cancer include the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), flexible sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy.

Several risk factors may increase the chance of getting colorectal cancer in both men and women, including:

  • Age (typically 50 years of age and older)
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Race/ethnic background (African Americans and people of Jewish dissent have the highest risk)
  • Diets high in red meats and processed meats
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Intestinal disease (familial adenomatous polyposis, hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer, chronic ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease)
  • Hereditary colon cancer syndromes (familiar adenomatous polyposis, Lynch Syndrome)