Colorectal Cancer

Frequently Asked Questions

21. Are there any drugs available that can help prevent colorectal cancer?

Scientists have done research on chemoprevention -- the use of drugs to prevent cancer from developing in the first place. Most of these studies have looked at people with high risk for the disease (where it runs in families) and not in the general population. For example, researchers have found that anti-inflammatory drugs helped keep intestinal tumors from forming, but serious side effects have been noted so researchers are proceeding cautiously.

Studies have shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can keep large bowel polyps from forming. Bowel polyps can start out benign, or non-cancerous, but can become cancerous. Serious cardiac effects of these drugs have been noted so researchers are also proceeding cautiously in recommending these drugs for prevention.