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Low fat milk, yogurt and cheese may reduce the risk of developing colon or rectal cancer -- a disease that kills more than 50,000 people a year in the United States -- according to a study released Tuesday.

The lead researcher said doctors should recommend to their patients a number of steps to help reduce the risk of colon cancer, including a low-fat, high-fiber diet, regular consumption of dairy products and regular examinations.

The study was funded by the National Dairy Council and was to appear in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"We are making major efforts to try to reduce this common cancer and right now in September 1998 the first effort has to be that everybody should regularly have their stools looked at for blood and a sigmoidoscopy (scope examination of lower part of the colon)," Dr. Peter Holt, chief of the division of gastroenterology at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, said.

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