Causes & Risk Factors

Researchers aren’t clear about what causes colon cancer. Like all cancers, it could be caused by many things, including a family history. Despite not knowing the exact causes, researchers have found several factors that might affect a person’s risk of getting colon cancer:

  • Age: A majority of people with colon cancer are older than 50. The rates of colon cancer in people younger than 50 have been increasing, but doctors aren't sure why.
  • Family History: Having a blood relative who has been diagnosed with colon cancer increases a person’s risk of developing the cancer themselves.
  • Personal History: People who have had colon cancer are more likely to get it a second time.
  • Obesity: People who are obese may have a higher risk of colon cancer compared with people who are not.
  • Race: For reasons not yet determined, Black people have a greater risk of colon cancer than do people of other races.
  • Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol use raises your risk.
  • Radiation Exposure: If you received radiation treatments to your abdomen, your risk of colon cancer is increased.
  • Inflammatory intestinal conditions: Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer.
  • Low-fiber, high-fat diet: Colon cancer and rectal cancer may be associated with a typical Western diet, which is low in fiber and high in fat and calories. Some studies have found an increased risk of colon cancer in people who eat diets high in red meat and processed meat.
  • Lifestyle: People who are inactive are more likely to develop colon cancer.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes have an increased risk of colon cancer.
  • Smoking: People who smoke may have an increased risk of colon cancer.

When to See a Doctor

If you have any continual signs or symptoms of colon cancer, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Also, make an appointment if you contain any of the risk factors associated with the cancer.

Our Cancer Services

Depending on the type of cancer and how far it has spread, BASS Cancer Center and the BASS Medical Group offers a wide range of treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, and systemic therapies.   

Our state-of-the-art cancer center features a full-service medical oncology clinic, including infusion suite, multiple exam rooms, and a PET/CT scanner. We also provide the most technologically advanced radiation oncology treatment in California. Our cancer experts use an Elekta VersaHD CT-Guided linear accelerator with Visionrt’s AlignRT Surface Guided technology (SGRT) and an MR-Guided Linear Accelerator (ViewRay MRIdian).

The VersaHD and MRIdian augment each platform’s capabilities and give the patient and BASS physician an unprecedented ability to tailor a radiotherapy treatment course best fit for each person’s case. Our AlignRT SGRT platform utilizes innovative optical technology to accurately track a patient’s position before and during treatment without exposing them to any additional radiation (commonly needed by other radiotherapy platforms for maintaining setup). Additionally, SGRT allows some patients the choice to avoid permanent marks on their bodies.