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Is good cholesterol beneficial for your colon too?

A new study out of Europe suggests that high levels of HDL may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Randy Yanda, M.D., gastroenterologist at Piedmont Hospital, clarifies, "No one has found a direct link between HDL levels and colon cancer risk, but we do know that the same things you do to help boost your HDL levels can also reduce your risk for colon cancer. We often suggest patients lose excess weight, eat a high-fiber diet, get enough calcium, stop smoking and maintain an exercise program," says Dr. Yanda.

Dr. Yanda adds that the single most important thing a person can do to reduce the risk of colon cancer is to focus on early detection through screening.

"If you have a family history of colon cancer, we recommend screening 10 years prior to when your family member was diagnosed," he says.

If you don't have a family history of colon cancer, you should begin screenings at age 45.*

The bottom line, says Dr. Yanda, is to continue doing all of the things you do to maintain a healthy heart.

“Living a heart-healthy lifestyle can also help decrease your risk of colon cancer.”

*The American Cancer Society updated its screening guidelines in May 2018, lowering the recommended screening age from 50 to 45.

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