Health Watch - Colon Cancer: Colon Cleansing

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about colon cancer, in recognition of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. A low-fat diet may help lower your risk, and regular screenings to detect cancer in the early stages can save lives. But will cleansing your colon to eliminate toxins do any good?

Dr. Anne Larson, an internal medicine specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says diets, pills, powders or enemas to cleanse the colon are not only unnecessary, but could be harmful. They can lead to an imbalance of fluids, dehydration and low blood pressure. In the long term, they could lead to anemia, infection or even death. The lining of the gut regenerates itself ever seven days, which makes cleansing unnecessary. If you’re worried about a buildup of toxins in your colon, you can prevent constipation the natural way by eating a fiber-rich diet and drinking plenty of water.

Visit  to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in cancer treatment.


March 2009

Health Watch is heard Monday through Friday nationwide on ABC Satellite Radio. Call your local radio station and ask if they carry the program.