BP Drugs May Improve Survival Of Colorectal Cancer Patients

Common BP drugs ACE inhibitors and thiazide diuretics appear to provide the most significant benefit to colorectal cancer patients, reveals a new study.

Colorectal cancer is any cancer that starts in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum. It is also called colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start. Colorectal cancer is documented as the third most commonly occurring cancer in men and the second most diagnosed cancer in women. Patients with colorectal cancer also commonly experience high blood pressure, but there has been no strong evidence suggesting the potential effect of blood-pressure drugs on patients’ outcomes. Now, a new study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has concluded that common BP drugs may improve survival for colorectal cancer patients.

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The researchers found that ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and thiazide diuretics were all associated with decreased mortality in patients with colorectal cancer. In addition, patients who took their blood-pressure drugs consistently were less likely to die from their cancer, they said.

The conclusion was reached after reviewing outcomes of almost 14,000 patients who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2012.

Adherence to BP medications important for colorectal cancer patients

The study found an association between increased adherence to blood-pressure medications and reduced mortality in patients starting these medications after stage I, II or III CRC diagnosis compared to those who did not.

According to the researchers, ACE inhibitors and thiazide diuretics appeared to provide the most significant benefit to patient survival and outcomes. However, they are not clear if the apparent benefits stem from the drugs themselves or from controlling patients’ blood pressure.

While the researchers noted that further research is needed to validate the connection between BP drugs and colorectal cancer survival, they are hopeful that their findings could lead to a new, low-cost treatment for this type of cancer.

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Regular screening tests can prevent colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer often begins as a growth, called polyp, on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Therefore, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colorectal cancer by identifying and removing polyps before they turn into cancer. But not all polyps become cancer.

This type of cancer typically affects older adults, but it can happen at any age. In view of the rising number of younger people developing colorectal cancer in the United States, the country’s Preventive Services Task Force has reduced the recommended age for first screening for the disease to 45 from 50.

Polyps may be small and present few or no symptoms. Thus, often people with colorectal cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Symptoms, when they appear, may also vary depending on the cancer’s size and location in your large intestine. According to the Mayo Clinic, common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer are:

  • A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you notice any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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