Greater than 75–95% of colorectal cancer occurs in people with little or no genetic risk. Risk factors include older age, male gender, high intake of fat, alcohol, red meat, processed meats, obesity, smoking, and a lack of physical exercise. Approximately 10% of cases are linked to insufficient activity. The risk from alcohol appears to increase at greater than one drink per day. Drinking 5 glasses of water a day is linked to a decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps. Streptococcus gallolyticus is associated with colorectal cancer. Some strains of Streptococcus bovis/Streptococcus equinus complex are consumed by millions of people daily and thus may be safe. 25 to 80% of people with Streptococcus bovis/gallolyticus bacteremia have concomitant colorectal tumors. Seroprevalence of Streptococcus bovis/gallolyticus is considered as a candidate practical marker for the early prediction of an underlying bowel lesion at high risk population. It has been suggested that the presence of antibodies to Streptococcus bovis/gallolyticus antigens or the antigens themselves in the bloodstream may act as markers for the carcinogenesis in the colon.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.