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Wine May Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer, Even in Smokers

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In fact, that "health-conscious" characteristic of the study participants may prove to be a factor that knocks out the wine association, Anderson says. "I'm betting that as we refine these data, we may find that what we are really seeing is the influence of healthy diet," he says. "I think it is possible that those who exercise more, and who are eating diets that are low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables, may also be wine drinkers."

Harris Clearfield,MD, a professor of medicine at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, tells WebMD that he, too, is cautious about jumping to any conclusions. Clearfield was not involved in the study, but he says "many studies have suggested one food or another as a way to prevent cancer or lower the risk of cancer. I know the American public is anxious to find that food."

Clearfield says that he worries that the search for this magic bullet to prevent cancer may lead people to overlook the "very real preventive measure that we have -- screening colonoscopy. Look, here we are taking our case to HMOs and other insurers to get them to pay for colonoscopy, and then people will think, 'Oh, I'll just drink a little wine, and then I won't need to get a colonoscopy.' I don't want anything to increase the public resistance to this exam."

 

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