People who smoke cigarettes, exercise less, and follow an unhealthy diet may be at increased risk of colorectal cancer, says a study.
The findings suggest that a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of the disease.
The results based on a colon cancer risk assessment survey, which has had more than 27,000 responses from around the world, highlight the modifiable risk factors, such as diet and lifestyle behaviours, reported by patients without a personal history of colorectal cancer and polyps.
The research team also found that less than 10 per cent of all respondents stated they ate five or more servings of fruit, vegetables and grains per day and only about 25 per cent undertook at least 30 minutes of exercise four times per week.
“Colon cancer is a preventable disease. These results emphasise the known modifiable factors that can alter the risk,” said Carol Burke, a gastroenterologist at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, US.
The findings were presented at the Digestive Disease Week 2017 being held from May 6-9 at McCormick Place, Chicago.
Burke and colleagues developed the online survey to provide respondents information about their colorectal cancer risk based upon self-reported personal and family history of colorectal cancer and polyps.
The survey generates suggestions for each participant to modify risk factors through screening as well as lifestyle and dietary changes.
The five-minute web-based questionnaire asks respondents about age, gender, ethnicity, height, weight, dietary factors, smoking history, physical activity, personal and family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, and adherence to screening.
The results showed that respondents who exercised more, followed a healthy diet and did not smoke were less likely to have a personal history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps.