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A healthy colon: UCLA’s tips to lower the risk of colorectal cancer

Date: 03/01/2008
Contact: Rachel Champeau ()
Phone: 310-794-0777

March is colorectal cancer awareness month

(Note to Editors: UCLA experts are available for interviews.)

With colorectal cancer the second leading cause of cancer death, it's a great time to take a look at the health of your colon. "Colorectal cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in the U.S.," said Dr. James Yoo, assistant professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  "Fortunately, colorectal cancer can be largely prevented with early screening or cured with early detection."

"While colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States, it is the most preventable major cancer. Improvements in prevention, early detection, and treatment have greatly reduced the death toll from this disease," said Dr. J. Randolph Hecht, clinical professor of medicine and director, GI Oncology Program, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and member of the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center.
 
10 Tips to Lower Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer
1. Receive regular colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 50 if you are at normal risk.

2. If you are at higher risk - due to a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, other cancers or inflammatory bowel disease - talk to your doctor about screenings before age 50.

3. Eat between 25 and 30 grams of fiber each day - from fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts, and beans. 

4. Eat a low-fat diet. Colorectal cancer has been associated with diets high in saturated fat.

5. Eat foods with folate, such as leafy green vegetables.

6. Drink alcohol in moderation and quit smoking. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.

7. Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days a week. Moderate exercise such as walking, gardening or climbing stairs may help reduce your risk.

8. Report to your doctor any persistent symptoms such as blood in the stool, a change in bowel habits, weight loss, narrower-than-usual stools, abdominal pains or other gastrointestinal complaints. 

9. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

10. For more information, please visit the Web site of the American Cancer Society at http://www.cancer.org.

UCLA Colorectal Surgery Program: http://www.colorectalsurgery.ucla.edu