Colon Cancer Prevention (cont.)

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What measures to prevent colorectal cancer probably are effective but may have long term adverse side effects?

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are widely used in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions of the body. Some examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, sulindac (Clinoril), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin and others), naproxen (Aleve, Naproxyn, Anaprox, Naprelan), and piroxicam (Feldene). How NSAIDs prevent colon cancer and polyps is under investigation. (NSAIDs are potent inhibitors of prostaglandins in the body, and prostaglandins may be important in the formation of polyps.)

Why aren't doctors recommending NSAIDs for colorectal cancer prevention? Because NSAIDs can cause stomach ulcers, intestinal bleeding and, sometimes, adverse effects on the liver and kidneys. Even though safer NSAIDs have been developed, doctors generally are reluctant to recommend aspirin or other NSAIDs for preventing colorectal cancer until data on their effectiveness and long-term safety are available.

When prescribing an agent for prolonged periods of time to prevent a disease that may or may not occur, the last thing a doctor would want is for that agent to cause adverse side effects in a healthy person.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/14/2014

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