Fast Five Quiz: Colorectal Cancer Practice Essentials

Elwyn C. Cabebe, MD


February 06, 2020

Colorectal cancer is a multifactorial disease process. Genetic factors, environmental exposures (including diet), and inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract are all involved in the development of colorectal cancer.

Inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease increase the risk of developing colorectal adenocarcinoma. The risk for developing colorectal cancer increases with the duration of inflammatory bowel disease and the greater extent of colon involvement.

Although much about colorectal cancer genetics remains unknown, current research indicates that genetic factors have the greatest correlation to colorectal cancer. Hereditary mutation of the APC gene is the cause of familial adenomatous polyposis in which affected individuals carry an almost 100% risk of developing colon cancer by age 40 years. Individuals with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (Lynch syndrome) have about a 40% lifetime risk for developing colorectal cancer; those with this syndrome are also at increased risk for urothelial cancer, endometrial cancer, and other less common cancers.

Estrogen/progestin replacement therapy has been associated with reduction in colorectal cancer risk.

Read more about risk factors for colorectal cancer.


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