Colon Cancer Home > Causes of Colon Cancer

Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease
A person who has had a condition that causes inflammation of the colon (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) for many years is at increased risk of developing colon cancer.
(Click Crohn's Disease and Cancer or Ulcerative Colitis and Colon Cancer for more information.)
Studies suggest that diets high in fat (especially animal fat) and low in calcium, folate, and fiber may increase the risk of colon cancer. Also, some studies suggest that people who eat a diet very low in fruits and vegetables may have a higher risk of colon cancer. More research is needed to better understand how diet affects the risk of colon cancer.
Cigarette Smoking
A person who smokes cigarettes may be at increased risk of developing polyps and colon cancer.

Final Thoughts

While there are no known causes of colon cancer, people who think they may be at risk should discuss this concern with their doctor. The doctor may be able to suggest ways to reduce the risk and can plan an appropriate schedule for checkups.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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