Drugs like Viagra May Decrease Colon Cancer Risk

Rachel Morrell

Drugs like Viagra May Decrease Colon Cancer Risk

A recent study from Region Skåne and Lund University in Sweden discovered potency-enhancing drugs like sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, can prevent colon cancer in men, as well as improve the prognosis of patients with the disease.

Viagra is one of many potency-enhancing PDE5 inhibitor drugs that have anti-cancer properties. Wuqing Huang, a Ph.D. student at Lund University, and his research colleagues studied data on how PDE5 inhibitors affect mice with colon tumors. They wanted to conduct a study on how the drug affected colon growth in humans.

Dr. Huang used national registers to identify Swedish males with colon cancer who also used PDE5 inhibitors. He found the risk of colon cancer death was reduced by 18 percent among patients who used potency-enhancing drugs. Furthermore, he found colon cancer was less likely to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body, in patients who used PDE5 inhibitors.

How do potency-enhancing drugs help prevent cancer growth and spreading? It seems that surgery can cause immune suppression, but Viagra and similar drugs have a protective effect on the immune system. PDEF inhibitors Dr. Huang explains, “The results of our study suggest that the anti-cancer ability of PDE5 inhibitors might be related to regulating immunosuppressive effects. However, randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm our research findings before PDE5 inhibitors can be used as an adjuvant drug for men with colorectal cancer, as well as experiments that explore the underlying biological mechanisms.”

Know Your Colon Cancer Risk

Heredity is responsible for only a small percentage of colon cancer, so it is important to understand the multiple risk factors of the disease. Experts are unsure about what causes colon cancer, but some risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Family history of colon cancer or colon polyps
  • Polyps (growths inside the colon and rectum) that may become cancerous
  • Diabetes
  • A high-fat diet
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases involving the colon
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Radiation therapy for cancer

Schedule Your Colonoscopy

The best way to prevent colon cancer is to schedule regular colonoscopies. During a colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist will examine the colon for precancerous growths called colon polyps. Your doctor can remove any suspicious colon polyp during the exam, thus preventing you from developing colon cancer.

Click here to get a list of GI centers in your area. Our fellowship-trained gastroenterologists are accepting new patients and look forward to serving you.

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