Colon Carcinoma at 10x Magnification
In addition to diet, a number of other risk factors for developing colon cancer have been identified. Genetics is thought to be particularly important, those with a close family member diagnosed with the disease being three times more likely than others to develop colon cancer. Various inherited conditions, the most notable of which are familial polyposis syndrome and familial colon cancer, also greatly increase the disease risk, as do the presence of benign polyps in the colon. Benign polyps, which can become malignant over time, are consequently often removed if they come to the attention of a medical professional. The irritable bowel disease known as ulcerative colitis, which is characterized by inflammation and ulceration, is also known to increase colon cancer risk in individuals in which it is a chronic occurrence.