I was reading “Nutrition News and Views” recently and the author, Judith DeCava, was talking about Colon and Colorectal cancer. Some of the interesting things I learned in that article are listed below:

*Most colonoscopies look for polyps, which are removed during that process. However, colorectal cancers tend to arise from nonpolyp growths (flat or depressed) which are common. These flat wounds are hard to detect and may be easily missed with routine colonoscopies.

*A colonoscopy should be done by Gastroenterologist. There is also a 2-3 times greater risk of having a suspicious growth missed when performed in the doctor’s office rather than a hospital. Also be sure to ask the doctor about their withdrawal method. Doctors who take their time, up to 17 minutes, to withdraw the wand detect nearly 4 times more polyps and cancers than those with fast (as little as 3 minutes) withdrawal times.

*It is well established that lifestyle factors, like diet, affect risk of colorectal cancer. Numerous studies have found that diets rich in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of polyps and colorectal cancer.

*A diet with high intake of refined grains, sugary foods, processed and red meats, fried foods, and altered fats can lead to obesity and being overweight. Both obesity and being overweight increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

*Foods high in fiber also contain many other substances and nutrients that may help prevent colorectal cancer.

*Several studies showed that dietary synbiotics (namely prebiotics and probiotics) help reduce risk of colorectal cancer by keeping the gut flora in balance and keep the gut lining healthy.

*Calcium and Vitamin D may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. A Harvard study in 2002 found that consuming at least 700 mg of calcium daily in food was linked to reduced risk of certain types of colorectal cancer.

*Excercise can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Not only does it help to reduce excess fat and help with weight management, but improves immune function, circulation, insulin sensitivity, bone and muscle tone, and nerve function — all important to the digestive tract.