Risk Factors for Colorectal Polyps and Cancer

Gastrointest Endosc Clin N Am. 2022 Apr;32(2):195-213. doi: 10.1016/j.giec.2021.12.008. Epub 2022 Feb 22.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common malignancy in the U.S. and worldwide. Most CRC cases arise from precancerous adenomatous and serrated polyps. Established risk factors for conventional adenomas and CRC include age, male sex, family history, obesity and physical inactivity, and red meat intake. White race and tobacco and alcohol use are important risk factors for serrated polyps, which have a distinct risk factor profile compared to conventional adenomas. A history of abdominopelvic radiation, acromegaly, hereditary hemochromatosis, or prior ureterosigmoidostomy also increases CRC risk. Understanding these risk factors allows for targeted screening of high-risk groups to reduce CRC incidence.

Keywords: Adenomas; Colorectal cancer; Epidemiology; Polyps; Risk factors; Serrated polyps.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma* / diagnosis
  • Adenoma* / epidemiology
  • Adenoma* / etiology
  • Colonic Polyps* / epidemiology
  • Colonic Polyps* / etiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Factors