The actor was just 42. But the disease is most common after age 50, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). And the risk of colorectal cancer increases with age. Older adults with it face unique challenges.
The ASCO says other factors include:
- Gender, with men having a slightly higher risk
- Family history
- Race, with black people having the highest rates of “sporadic, or non-hereditary, colorectal cancer in the United States”
Lifestyle factors are also important in lowering risk.
No. 1: People who don’t exercise and sit a lot, along with people who are overweight, have a higher risk.
Eating red meat and processed meat raises our risk.
So does smoking, of course.
The oncology organization says taking aspirin might lower a person’s risk. It also says that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, limiting red meat, and taking calcium and vitamin D supplements help.
The ASCO urges black people to begin screenings at age 45 and others at age 50. Various methods of early detection exist, including colonoscopies and testing stool samples.
Talk with your doctor about your risk and screening options.