Do You Know Your Colon Cancer Risk? Take Our Quiz to Find Out

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. The key to beating colorectal cancer is to get regular colonoscopy screenings so any precancerous growths can be addressed at the early stages, when they are most treatable.

But do you know your colon cancer risk and the colon cancer risk factors? We’ve compiled this useful questionnaire to help you assess your risk.

Quiz: Determine Your Colon Cancer Risk

Answer the following questions that involve certain colon cancer risk factors:

  • Do you have a BMI (body mass index) over 25? (Not sure? You can easily calculate your BMI online.)
    Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Do you exercise less than one day a week?
    Those who aren’t physically active are at a greater risk of developing colon cancer. Even a moderate amount of exercise three days a week can decrease your chances of developing colon cancer.
  • Do you eat a diet that’s high in red meats?
    Eating a lot of red and processed meats can raise your cancer risk.
  • Do you smoke?
    You typically think of smoking as associated with lung cancer, but it is responsible for a lot of other cancers—such as colorectal cancer—as well. 
  • Do you drink excessive amounts of alcohol?
    Moderate to heavy alcohol use has been linked to colorectal cancer.
  • Are you over 45 years old?
    The risk of colon cancer increases as you get older, and while anyone can develop it at any age, it’s much more common in those over age 45.
  • Do you have a history of polyps?
    Polyps are growths that are discovered in your colon during a colonoscopy. While some are benign, many have the potential of becoming cancer, which is why they are removed when you have a screening colonoscopy.
  • Does colon cancer run in your family?
    Researchers believe there is a genetic connection and that you are more likely to develop colon cancer if a close relative of yours had it.
  • Have you been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease?
    Those with these conditions have a higher risk of colon cancer.
  • Are you African American or are you Jewish of Eastern European descent?
    These racial and ethnic groups have the highest rates of colorectal cancer in the U.S. and in the world.
  • Do you have Type 2 diabetes?
    Those with diabetes have an increased risk of colon cancer.

The more questions you answer “yes” to, the greater your risk of developing colon cancer.

How Often Should You Have a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy remains the gold standard for screening for colon cancer. We recommend that those with average risk of developing colon cancer have a colonoscopy starting at age 45. How often you should be screened depends upon your individual situation, including your family history and if you’ve had any abnormal screenings in the past.

Typically, for those who don’t have an increased risk of colorectal cancer, we recommend screening every 10 years.

Should you get a colonoscopy earlier or more often? That depends upon your risk and several other factors. Talk to us in order to determine the best course of action for you.

What Happens During a Colonoscopy?

During a colonoscopy, a thin tube with a small camera on it is gently threaded through your rectum into your colon, where the doctor examines it for any abnormalities.

You’ll be given IV medication to help you relax, and while you may be awake during a colonoscopy, you should not feel any pain. Many patients don’t even remember that they had the procedure.

Because you will be sedated during the procedure, you will not be allowed to drive home or take an Uber or taxi. Someone has to be with you in order to take you home after the procedure.

We know you likely have a lot of additional questions about how to prepare for a colonoscopy and what to expect, particularly when it pertains to the suprep bowel prep kit that must be used to clean your colon before the procedure.

We are dedicated to taking time to answer all your questions and to speak to you about your colon cancer risk. We encourage you to ask us anything because we believe effective communication is at the heart of quality, compassionate health care.

RMG Gastroenterology Has Multiple Locations to Conveniently Serve You

In addition to locations throughout Wake and Johnston Counties (Wake Forest, Cary, Clayton, Smithfield, Raleigh and Knightdale), we have offices in Wilson and Henderson ready to serve you.

For decades, we have helped thousands of patients throughout the area live healthier lives through colon cancer screenings, where cancer can be detected when it is at its most treatable—and beatable—stage.

All of our facilities feature the latest in digital, state-of-the-art equipment that has been custom designed for digestive healthcare. This means you not only get the highest quality care, but there’s also less wait time and less paperwork.

Our Wake Endoscopy Center is a state certified ambulatory surgery center, and in addition, it is also one of only 15 endoscopy facilities in the state that are AAAHC approved. .

We invite you to discover why we have been named a Center of Excellence for inflammatory bowel disease, advanced GI therapeutics, liver disease and women’s health. Contact us for information on how to schedule an appointment.