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Colon Cancer Prevention: A Simple Summary

"Great database, great site. Thanks so much. However: it would be great if there were ONE, SHORT, PRACTICAL summary page for humans interested in chemo-prevention for themselves. That would be rather than making individuals dig that data out for themselves. Thanks again!"
Alan Lewis (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) wrote me in 2006. Alan, let me please try several answers: less simple but truer than a single answer.

What do we learn from human volunteers trials?

- [Trials in human volunteers] give very strong evidence that some drugs can reduce the recurrence of polyps. They very likely can prevent colorectal cancer. A mixture of DMFO and sulindac cut risk by three (one good trial, -70% risk), celecoxib reduces risk by one third (four good trials, -33% risk), and low dose aspirin reduces modestly the risk (four good trials, -15%). Two problems here: these drugs are expensive if you take one pill a day, and they produce unwanted "toxic" side-effects: celecoxib use triples cardio-vascular problems, aspirin can induce gastric bleeding, DFMO can impair hearing, and sulindac ? I don't know. My advice is NOT to take those, except if your MD told you because you are at a very high risk of colorectal cancer

- [Trials in human volunteers] give some evidence that two "mineral nutrients" may reduce polyps or cancers: Strong evidence that calcium supplements reduces polyp recurrence, but reduction is modest (two good trials, -20%), and weak evidence that selenium can reduce risk by one third (three trials, -33%). My advice is "why not" increase your calcium intake (but might be bad for prostate), and take some selenium (I eat Brazil nuts rather than Se pills)

- No other tested diet afforded any protection in "good quality" trials: vitamins, fibers, carotene, fruits & vegs, low-fat diet, showed NO protection.

What do we learn from animal data?

1- Agents that are VERY POTENT in rodents SHOULD be tested in humans, provided they are not toxic.
These agents are displayed on top of [Huge table sorted by potency]. Have a look at it; you'll see that most top-50 agents have already been tested in humans (DFMO, sulindac, celecoxib and other NSAIDs ...) except PEG 8000 and PEG-like compounds. Well, I (Denis Corpet) discovered this PEG effect by serendipity, and you may think I twisted the data. Just have a look at the original scientific data in [Cancer Research journal]: amazing, is-not-it?

2- Three hundred phytochemicals in the [Huge table "phyto" lines]. It means that more than 300 plant-compounds can prevent cancer in animals (some 100 "fibact" from plants might be added to the phytochemicals). My advice is to eat loads of vegetables and fruits to put those phytochemicals in your mouth, in your body. Maybe some of them are not useful, but the sum of all must be. In addition most vegs are low-cal, and "less calories = less cancer". Soybean & chickpeas (BB protease inhibitor), orange & lemon (obacunone, hesperidin, nobiletin), curry (curcumin), red wine (resveratrol), onion & garlic (allyl sulfides), cabbage & broccoli (MMTS, sulforaphane), tea (EGCG & catechins), tomatoes (lycopene): no need to get the results of clinical trials to eat them at every meal. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" provided the apple goes with many other plant foods.

Nutrition Recommandations, Food & Diet Advices to Prevent Cancer



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Corpet DE & Taché S, 2002, Nutrition & Cancer - DE Corpet & F Pierre, 2003, Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prevention - DE Corpet & F Pierre, 2005, Eur.J.Cancer
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