Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Colorectal Cancer Prevention (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version

Who Is at Risk?

For the great majority of people, the major factor that increases a person’s risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing age. Risk increases dramatically after age 50 years; 90% of all CRCs are diagnosed after this age. The history of CRC in a first-degree relative, especially if before the age of 55 years, roughly doubles the risk. A personal history of CRC, high risk adenomas, or ovarian cancer also increases the risk.[1] Other risk factors are weaker than age and family history. People with inflammatory bowel disease have a much higher risk of CRC. A small percentage (<5%) of CRCs occur in people with a genetic predisposition, including familial adenomatous polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis coli.


  1. Imperiale TF, Juluri R, Sherer EA, et al.: A risk index for advanced neoplasia on the second surveillance colonoscopy in patients with previous adenomatous polyps. Gastrointest Endosc 80 (3): 471-8, 2014. [PUBMED Abstract]
  • Updated: February 13, 2015