News Release

October 25, 2005

Contact: Maureen McGuire, 860-679-4523

The Colon Cancer Prevention Program

FARMINGTON, CONN. – A new program focused solely on the prevention of colon cancer is now open at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Through the Colon Cancer Prevention Program, men and women can learn about their unique risk factors for colon cancer and develop lifelong cancer prevention strategies.

“Colon cancer is a leading cause of death in the U.S. today because when it is detected late, it is very difficult to treat. However, if colon cancer is caught at an early stage -- or better yet, prevented from ever occurring – the outcomes are dramatically different,” said Joel Levine, M.D., a gastroenterologist, professor of medicine, and co-director of the Colon Cancer Prevention Program.

“The good news is that we believe prevention is possible,” he added. “This program is ideal for anyone who is concerned about their colon cancer risk,” he said, noting that everyone has some risk.

“Certainly, people with a family history of colon cancer are at higher risk for the disease. However, for most patients diagnosed with colon cancer, there is no family history,” he said.

The new Colon Cancer Prevention Program is part of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center and is bolstered by UConn’s technological and research strengths, including state-of-the-art imaging devices, Dr. Levine added.

“We are using one of the most advanced colonoscopes available today. It can visualize microscopic changes on the colon, years or even decades, before these changes could lead to cancer,” Dr. Levine said. This precise imaging technology is critical to ongoing cancer prevention research at the UConn Health Center.

“We are looking at the very early changes in the colon that could signal higher risk of polyps or cancer,” explained Daniel Rosenberg, Ph.D., professor of medicine and co-director of the program.

Other research initiatives at UConn Health Center are looking at the impact of nutrition, exercise, certain supplements and other factors for the prevention of colon cancer. These initiatives are supported by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health and leading cancer centers.

In addition, patients in the new program can benefit from UConn’s expertise in genetic counseling and testing, nutrition and lifestyle changes. Patients will also receive ongoing education and support to make sure their colon cancer prevention strategies are up–to-date.

“We’re making a long-term commitment to be your ally in prevention,” Dr. Levine said. “Cancer prevention is a way of life. It is more than a single test. It is the result of a careful plan that looks at all factors that determine your risk for cancer and how it can be lowered.”

“The old adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure is true,” added Carolyn D. Runowicz, M.D., director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center and President-Elect of the American Cancer Society. “This program represents a new approach to health care with an emphasis on prevention – which is truly the new frontier of cancer research and care,” she said.

“In view of research, including the work being done here at the UConn Health Center, there is reason to be very optimistic about colon cancer prevention. The citizens of Connecticut are fortunate to have this state-of-the-art facility available to them in the fight to eradicate colon cancer,” Dr. Runowicz added.

For more information or to make an appointment, call the UConn Health Center at 800-535-6232 or visit

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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