Best Life: Losing weight could decrease your risk of polyps linked to colon cancer

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:12 AM CDT
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BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – This year alone, 105,000 Americans will be told they have colon cancer. Most of these cancers start as a growth, or polyp, on the inside lining of the colon. Now, researchers say there’s more evidence that weight loss as an adult may have a significant impact on a person’s risk.

It’s one of the most critical health problems for Americans – more than two-thirds of all adults are overweight or obese. Losing weight reduces the risk of chronic diseases, like Type 2 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 cancer epidemiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Kathryn Hughes Barry, Ph.D., MPH.

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 aged 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,” said Barry.

The researchers say gaining about six pounds or more every five years was associated with a 30% increased risk of polyps. Barry says there are other preventive measures people can take to lower risk, including exercising regularly, eating a fiber-rich diet including whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Barry also suggests, “Lowering intake of red meat and processed meats, like deli meat.”

She also emphasized the importance of regular colorectal cancer screenings. The recommendation for most adults is to have a colonoscopy at age 45, instead of 50, unless you have a family history of colorectal cancer, in which case your doctor may recommend an even earlier screening.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

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