Your Health: Looking out for colon cancer

More than 100,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - More than 100,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year.

Most of these cancers start as a growth, or polyp, on the inside lining of the colon.

More than two thirds of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Losing weight reduces the risk of chronic diseases - like type two diabetes and some cancers.

“Our study is one of the first to suggest a benefit of losing excess weight in helping reduce colorectal polyps, which may help reduce colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Kathryn Hughes Barry.

Barry and her colleagues used data from 17,000 men and women in the prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancer screening trial. The participants were ages 55 to 74. The researchers found that for overweight or obese adults, losing just two pounds per decade decreased a person’s risk of polyps, which can develop into colorectal cancer.

“When we looked at weight loss, we found there was a 46% decreased risk of these polyps for people who lost weight,” Barry said.

The researchers said gaining about six pounds or more every five years was associated with a 30% increased risk of polyps. Barry said there are other preventive measures people can take to lower risk, including exercising regularly, eating a fiber-rich diet and lowering intake of red meat and processed meats.

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