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Does Dairy Do a Colon Good?

Eating dairy foods may lower the risk of colon cancer.

Eat a High-Fiber Diet

Regardless of the ongoing debate, the American Cancer Society and other health officials say a diet high in fiber (whole grains, rice, breads, vegetables and fruits) and low in animal fats (especially red meats) can reduce the risk of the disease.

Feldman acknowledges that studies have shown that when calcium is taken through dietary supplements, it can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. "Considering the benefits that I've seen, I don?t think that it would hurt to increase calcium intake through low-fat dairy," Garland says.

Diet isn't the only way to prevent the cancer, Feldman stresses. He says people should get screened every year after age 50 for colon polyps, which can be removed before they develop into full-blown cancer. People need to overcome their fear of colorectal exams because they're the only way to be "100% sure" of avoiding the potentially fatal disease, he says.

"The reality is that it's nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be," he says. "The most important thing is that [exams] can help prevent cancer and save your life."

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