What causes colonic polyps?
The cause of colon polyps remains unknown but may be partly due to hereditary factors.
Anyone can develop colon polyps which can lead to colon cancer. But a number of factors may contribute to the formation of colon polyps and put you at risk for developing this condition. Risk factors for colon polyps include:
Age - The great majority of people diagnosed with colon cancer are 50+. Your risk for developing colon related growths generally increases around age 40.
Alcohol - Drinking alcohol in excess (especially beer) makes it more likely that you'll develop colon polyps.
Ethnicity - Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern European descent and African Americans are at higher risk of developing colon cancer.
Family history – People with a parent, sibling or child diagnosed with colonic polyps or cancer of the large intestine are more likely to develop colon polyps. If many family members have been diagnosed, the risk is even greater. In some cases the connection isn't hereditary or genetic but may result from shared exposure to a cancer-causing substance (carcinogen) in the environment or from similar diet or lifestyle factors.
Genetics - A small percentage of colon cancers result from gene mutations. Although inheriting a defective gene greatly increases your risk, not everyone with a mutated gene develops cancer.
Inflammatory intestinal conditions - Long-standing inflammatory diseases of the colon (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) can increase the risk of developing colon polyps.
Lifestyle - If you are inactive or live a sedentary lifestyle, you're more likely to develop colon cancer. This may be because waste stays in the colon longer. A diet high in fatty foods can also contribute to the development of colon polyps.
Personal medical history - You may have a greater chance of getting polyps if you’ve been diagnosed with colon polyps before or if you’ve had uterine or ovarian cancer before the age of 50.
Smoking - Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing colon polyps and colon cancer. In fact, smokers are 20 percent more likely to develop colon cancer than nonsmokers. If you smoke and drink alcohol excessively, risk increases even more.
Weight - Being overweight or obese has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including colon cancer.
Often, people don’t know they have a colon polyp until a doctor finds the polyp during a regular checkup or while testing for something else. But what are the symptoms of a colonic polyp? To learn more about symptoms of colon polyps, continue reading.
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