Preventing Colon Cancer: What You Can Do
WebMD News Archive
There has been only one study of COX-2 inhibitors in people, done in
patients with a rare genetic disease called Familial Adenomas Poliposis, which
predisposes them to polyp formation. "It showed a 30% reduction in polyps,
which was pretty significant," DuBois says. "The FDA did approve use of
that drug for those patients."
Another three-year study is under way to see whether the drug will be
effective in reversing polyp formation.
In the meantime, DuBois recommends baby aspirin for its protective effects
for heart disease as well as colon cancer, especially for people over 50.
"Toxic effects are less with the lower dose, but you still get some. If
[patients] have risk for cardiovascular disease, one of the recommendations is
to take aspirin, and they can take it knowing it might help other things as
If you want to learn more about colorectal cancer screening, Michael
Pignone, MD, MPH, a researcher of the Lineberger Cancer Center at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, suggests checking out this
link -- www.med.unc.edu/medicine/edursrc/colon.htm. It leads to a downloadable video that explains -- in
layman's terms -- various colon cancer screening tests, Pignone
explains fecal occult blood testing, which looks for blood in the stool that
may signal the presence of a precancerous polyp. It also discusses flexible
sigmoidoscopy, a procedure in which a flexible tube is inserted through the
rectum, allowing the doctor to look for polyps in part of the
WebMD that large, well-designed studies have shown that fecal occult blood
testing can detect colon cancer and that this early detection reduces the death
rate by about 33%. "And the people who were studied in those trials were
over age 50, so we really believe that colon cancer screening is effective for
adults over age 50, men and women."
Schoen, MD, MPH, tells WebMD that everyone should be getting screened for
colorectal cancer after age 50. Schoen is director of the Center for Families
at Risk for Colorectal Cancer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical