Risk of Colon Cancer Death Reduced with Healthy Lifestyle

04 June, 2017

Researchers say people treated for colon cancer can greatly reduce their risk of death and of the cancer progressing, by living more healthfully.

The study was released just before the yearly gathering of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the world's largest organization of clinical cancer professionals.

Harvard University in Massachusetts questioned 1,000 advanced colon cancer patients across the United States. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) examined their answers.

The researchers began examining the volunteers at 13 medical centers between 1999 and 2001. The patients were followed for seven years.

Strollin Through A Colon
Strollin Through A Colon

Twice during the study, they were asked if their lifestyle followed prevention suggestions from the American Cancer Society. These guidelines include keeping a healthy weight, eating many fruits and vegetables, limiting intake of red and processed meats and exercising on a regular basis.

Only nine percent of the patients in the study followed the guidelines. Those patients had a 42 percent lower risk of death compared to the patients who did not follow the guidelines. The risk of a return of the cancer was also 31 percent lower among the group that followed the guidelines. In the study, colon cancer returned in 335 patients, 256 of whom died from the disease.

Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death.

Erin Van Blarigan of UCSF was the lead investigator. She said people who are treated for colon cancer are living longer than ever before. But she says many more can survive colon cancer if they begin living a healthy lifestyle after identification and treatment of the disease.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

VOA Health Correspondent Jessica Berman reported this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted her report for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

advanced - adj. beyond the basic level

lifestyle - n. a particular way of living; the way a person lives or a group of people live

processed - adj. something changed from one form into another by preparing, handling, or treating it in a special way