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Metabolic Syndrome Raises Colon Cancer Risk 75%
Date:10/10/2008

Finding suggests need for more careful screening for these patients, researcher says

FRIDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Patients coping with metabolic syndrome have a 75 percent higher risk for developing colorectal cancer sometime in their lives, a new study suggests.

"Metabolic syndrome is a conglomeration of three or four diseases, that together can portend a worse prognosis for certain illnesses, including a number of cancers," said study co-author Dr. Donald Garrow, a clinical gastroenterology fellow at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

"But what has not been well-defined," he added, "is the associated risk for colorectal cancer. So this is one of the first -- and certainly the largest -- study to look specifically at this risk. And we found that there is indeed a higher risk for colorectal cancer in this population."

Garrow and his colleague, Dr. Mark Delegge, presented their findings last week at the American College of Gastroenterology scientific meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

The researchers noted that metabolic syndrome is a combination of three chronic conditions that are linked to being either overweight or obese: high blood pressure, diabetes and elevated cholesterol. The syndrome is already known to increase the risk for developing heart disease and stroke.

To gauge the degree to which having these conditions in concert might raise colon cancer risk as well, the authors reviewed data collected between 2000 and 2003 by the National Health Interview Survey. The nationwide survey is conducted annually by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The team focused on survey participants who had reported having a history of metabolic syndrome --almost 1,200 patients -- and those with a history of colorectal cancer -- 350 patients.

After controlling for mitigating factors such as age, race, gender, obesity, and smoking and drinking habits, a cross-re
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