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Each year the American Cancer Society publishes a report that estimates the number of expected new cancer diagnoses in the coming year and the expected number of cancer related deaths during the same time period. This year’s report estimated that there will be over 135,000 new cases of colorectal cancers in the US in 2017.

What if some of these cases could be prevented? Well, a new study done by the Mayo Clinic looks at the effectiveness of NSAIDs, aspirin, and over-the-counter supplements in preventing the growth of precancerous polyps in the colon.

The Study

Colorectal cancers are the third most commonly diagnosed and the third leading cause of cancer deaths. Most colorectal cancers, as much as 85%, arise from a type of polyp known as advanced adenomas. During a screening colonoscopy your physician views the lining of the colon with a special camera on the end of the scope used to perform the procedure. When a polyp is found it can be removed immediately.

Many studies have looked at NSAIDs, aspirin, and OTC supplements, like calcium, Vitamin D, and and folic acid, but the Mayo Clinic study’s senior author, Dr. M. Hassan Murad, noted that there had not been a study that compared the effectiveness of the different therapies. His team conducted a statistical research analysis that combines data from other studies into a single consolidated observation. The study included clinical trial data from 15 randomized control trials, and his team also reviewed information from over 12,200 patients.


The conclusion was that non aspirin NSAIDs are better than all other compared therapies for preventing the recurrence of adenomas within three to five years of the initial removal of the polyp. Aspirin had nearly as good results. However, all patients must be concerned with the risk versus the benefits. The health risk of daily doses of NSAIDs can be severe for some patients, much more so than daily doses of aspirin. It is important that patients do not enter into daily therapies without the supervision of a physician.

We want to help! 

If you would like to discuss whether or not a daily therapy would be beneficial for you, contact Associates in Digestive Health for an appointment. Our doctors are ready to help you determine the best course of treatment. If you are at least 50 years of age and have never had a screening colonoscopy, schedule an appointment today.