A person with an average risk of colorectal cancer has about a 5% chance of developing colorectal cancer overall. Generally, most colorectal cancers (about 95%) are considered sporadic. Inherited colorectal cancers are less common (about 5%). Often, the cause of colorectal cancer is not known. However, the following factors may raise a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer:
Age. The risk of colorectal cancer increases as people get older. Colorectal cancer can occur in young adults and teenagers, but the majority of colorectal cancers occur in people older than 50. For colon cancer, the average age at the time of diagnosis for men is 68 and for women is 72. For rectal cancer, it is age 63 for both men and women.
It is important to note while colorectal cancer is still diagnosed most commonly in older adults, the incidence rate for colorectal cancer declined by about 5% per year in adults 65 and older and decreased by 1.4% per year in adults 50 to 64 years old, based on the latest statistics. Meanwhile, the incidence rate increased by nearly 2% per year in adults younger than 50. The increase is due in large part to rising numbers of rectal cancer. About 11% of all colorectal diagnoses are in people under age 50.
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