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Colorectal cancer risk management

Every person is at risk for colorectal cancer and the risk increases with age. A person in the general population has about a 4 percent lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer. This means that 1 out of every 25 people will get colorectal cancer in their lifetime. 

Colorectal cancer screening and risk reduction

There are different options for managing colorectal cancer risk, including:

Your risk management plan will depend on several factors, including:

  • your age
  • your gender
  • the presence of an inherited gene mutation
  • your personal and family history of cancer
  • other risk factors
  • personal preferences

There are different national expert guidelines for colorectal cancer risk management, which are based on your level of risk. Speak with your healthcare provider to decide on a risk management plan and schedule that is right for you. 

Genes linked to colorectal cancer risk

Inherited mutations in the following genes have been linked to an increased risk for colorectal cancer, (click on the gene to learn more about the colorectal cancer risk associated for each):

The most common inherited gene mutations associated with hereditary colorectal cancer are the genes associated with Lynch syndrome: 

Other genes associated with increased colorectal cancer risk include:

  • APC
  • MUTYH 
  •  ()
  • (Peutz-Jegher syndrome)
  •  ()

There are other inherited mutations that increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Most of these are rare. 

Other factors linked to colorectal cancer risk

Factors such as diet, weight, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption can affect colorectal cancer risk in the general population and in people at high risk for cancer. More research is needed to understand how much these factors influence risk in people with inherited mutations.

Last updated December 21, 2022

Find Experts
Find Experts

Gastroenterologists are experts specialize in the gastrointestinal system. They also perform screening for gastrointestinal cancers, including stomach, small intestine, large intestine, colon and pancreas. Not all gastroenterologists are experts in screening for cancers in high-risk people. If you already have a gastroenterologist, ask how many patients with your mutation they care for, and what screening guidelines they follow.

updated: 12/21/2022