So far, the cause of colon cancer remains a mystery. Colon cancer usually presents after the fifth decade of life and often presents with vague symptoms.
In many cases by the time diagnosis is made, the cancer is advanced. Much work is being done to find the cause of colon cancer so preventive steps can be introduced.
It is speculated that consumption of dietary fiber and antioxidants may play a role in the development of colonic polyps. However, changes in dietary intake of fiber have not made much impact on reducing levels of colon cancer.
For a long time it has been suggested that certain stress hormones could promote the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Previous prescription drug data based studies indicate that these drugs (beta blockers) may be associated with a decreased risk of bladder, prostate and several other cancers.
Because these blood pressure drugs that can inhibit the action of stress hormones, it was felt that they may have anti-cancer properties as well.
Now a study from Germany reports that long term use of common blood pressure medications, which are beta blockers, for high blood pressure have no effect on lowering the risk of colon cancer (1).
This latest study from Germany followed close to 1700 patients with colorectal cancer and the same number without colon cancer. After adjusting for age and the risk factors, the researchers found no association between duration of beta blocker usage and risk of colon cancer.
It is very unlikely that a single drug or supplement will ever prevent cancers. The majority of cancers have multiple causative factors, most of which remain unknown.
For consumers who want to lower their risk of colon cancer, it is highly recommended that they eat a healthy nutritious diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, discontinue smoking and control their weight.
For those over the age of 50, a colonoscopy is the only reliable way to screen for colon cancer. (2) Relying on any one particular drug is simply wishful thinking.
1. Jansen, L., Below, J., Chang-Claude, J., Brenner, H. and Hoffmeister, M. (2012), Beta blocker use and colorectal cancer risk. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26727
2. Brenner H. Protection from colorectal cancer after colonoscopy: a population-based, case-control study. Ann Intern Med. 2011 Jan 4;154(1):22-30.
Reviewed May 17, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith