One of the best ways to ensure your personal wellness is to be pro-active about your health: to know what you're at risk of developing and how to minimize your risk. When it comes to cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death.in both men and women. Here's how to tell if you're at higher-than -average risk of developing colorectal cancer: 1) You're over the age of 40
. As age increases, so does the risk of developing polyps and growths that can become cancerous. Once you turn 40, it's time to get much better about seeing your doctor for an annual physical. 2) You have had a colorectal polyp or cancer in the past
. If you have had this condition previously, you should be vigilant about detecting recurrence. Follow your doctor's testing and exam schedules carefully, and be sure to adopt their suggestions for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 3) There is a family history of colorectal polyps and/or cancer
. Even if a family member's polyps were not cancerous, you should still let your doctor know about any family history of colorectal conditions. 4) You don't each much fiber
. Low-carb dieters, listen up: fiber is important! Once you turn 40, consider adding a soluble fiber supplement to your diet if you refuse to eat high-fiber foods like fruits, bran, etc. 5) You have another GI condition
. Some studies suggest that inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease increase your risk for colorectal cancers. 6) You have noticed a persistent change in bowel habits
. A persistent change is one that has lasted weeks and months. This is a sign to schedule that annual physical sooner rather than later, and tell your physician about the change when you get there.