What can help to prevent colorectal cancer?

Most colon cancers arise as results of a series of genetic mutations from normal colonic
epithelium to invasive carcinoma, with adenomatous polyps as an intermediate step.

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related mortality. Adjuvant treatment
does not seem to be highly effective and recurrent or metastatic disease occurs in half of the new
cases within one year of diagnosis and median survival does not exceed 18 months and the
5-year survival rate in the United States in only 62%.  [1,2].

Screening Methods

Screening procedures are important to prevent the disease and they include fecal occult blood,
flexible sigmoidoscopy,
colonoscopy, and double contrast barium enema), computed
tomographic colonography (virtual colonoscopy) and stool-based molecular screening. [1]

Chemo-prevention

Chemoprevention refers to the use of natural or synthetic chemical agents to reverse, suppress,
or to delay the process of carcinogenesis. Chemoprevention is a particularly useful method in the
management of patients at high risk for the development of specific cancers based on inborn
genetic susceptibility, the presence of cancer-associated disease, or other known risk factors.
Chemo-preventive compounds for colorectal cancer can be divided into four groups: [a]
selenium, folic acid, vitamin D, [b] calcium, magnesium [3], [c] oestrogens or hormone
replacement therapy, [d] 5-aminosalicylic acid [4] and [e] nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
such as aspirin [1,2,6]. The mechanisms of action of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include
inhibition of the cyclooxygenase system and cyclooxygenase-independent effects [1].

Diet Approach

Considering the fact that the cause of the colorectal cancer (CRC) involves cell molecular
changes and environmental factors. Researchers have studied intensively on how diet linked to
neoplasia induction (cancer cell development) [9]. In general, they recommend body weight
management, exercise, an increase of plant food (e.g. wheat bran, aged garlic, lysine, proline,
arginine, ascorbic acid, and green tea extracts) folate and methionine consumption and a
decrease of red meat, alcohol and cigarette consumption [7- 11].

References

[1] Hawk ET and Levin B, Colorectal cancer prevention, J Clin Oncol. 2005 Jan 10;23(2):378-91. [2] Serrano D  et al,
Chemoprevention of colorectal cancer: an update., Tech Coloproctol. 2004 Dec;8 Suppl 2:s248-52 [3] Larsson SC,
Magnesium intake in relation to risk of colorectal cancer in women, JAMA. 2005 Jan 5;293(1):86-9. [4] Cheng Y et al,
5-aminosalicylic acid is an attractive candidate agent for chemoprevention of colon cancer in patients with inflammatory
bowel disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jan 21;11(3):309-14. [5] Sandler RS. Calcium supplements to prevent
colorectal adenomas, Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Feb;100(2):395-6. [6] Gill S and Sinicrope FA. Colorectal cancer
prevention: is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? Semin Oncol. 2005 Feb;32(1):24-34. [7] Chao A et al, Meat
consumption and risk of colorectal cancer. JAMA. 2005 Jan 12;293(2):172-82. [8] Roomi MW et al , In vivo antitumor effect
of ascorbic acid, lysine, proline and green tea extract on human colon cancer cell HCT 116 xenografts in nude mice:
evaluation of tumor growth and immunohistochemistry. Oncol Rep. 2005 Mar;13(3):421-5. [9] Campos FG et al, Diet and
colorectal cancer: current evidence for etiology and prevention. Nutr Hosp. 2005 Jan-Feb;20(1):18-25. [10]Qu H et al,
Lignans Are Involved in the Antitumor Activity of Wheat Bran in Colon Cancer SW480 Cells. J Nutr. 2005
Mar;135(3):598-602. [11] Tanaka S et al, Effects of aged garlic extract (AGE) on colorectal adenomas: a double-blinded
study. Hiroshim a J Med Sci. 2004 Dec;53(3-4):39-45.
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Herbal / Dietary Supplements / Foods that may lower the risk of certain types of cancer
: Avocados Banana, Bitter
Melon, Brown Seaweed, Capsicum, Cauliflower, Celery, Chlorophyll, Cordyceps, Curcumin, Dandelion, Ellagic acid,
Oldenlandia, Falcarinol, Fenugreek, Feverfew, Fish Oil, Forskolin, Galangal, Garlic, Gotu Kola, Green Tea, Grape Seed
Extract, Honokiol, Orange, Isothiocyanates, Linseed Oil, Limes, Lycopene, Maitake, Milk Thistle, Onion, Peony, Phellinus,
Quercetin, Pterostibene, Pycnogenol, Reishi, Rhubarb, Saffron, Stinging Nettle, Sweet Potatoes, and more. (Please read
the warning section)

Drugs listed in this website for chemotherapy:
Xeloda, Avastin, Herceptin,  Tykerb,
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WARNING
Some studies do show the anti-cancer activities of certain herbs and supplements, but most of the studies were done in
test-tube or animals. It is unclear if they are effective in human body. Further, the composition of the products in market are
not necessary the same as those in the studies.

Cancer cells can spread very quickly, while most of the herbs/supplements take long time to see the effects (even though
they are active in our body). Some targeted drug products, including monoclonal antibodies, are cancer cell specific, they
are potent and have less side effects (compared to conventional anti-cancer drugs).
Patients must discuss with their
doctors for the right treatment.