Pills That Help Prevent Cancer

Many health food companies, medical practitioners and alternative medical practitioners promote a multitude of “magic” cancer prevention pills. This raises questions on whether these magic pills to prevent cancer actually work. Dietary supplements (multi-vitamins), tamoxifen, curry and even birth control pills are touted for preventing various forms of cancer in men and women.

Dietary Supplements to Prevent Cancer

Researchers have found that diets high in carotenoids, Vitamin C and other minerals might provide some protection from cancer. However, supplements created by labs and taken in pill form may not be fully absorbed into the body. According to an eight-year study conducted by researcher Marian Neuhouser of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, multivitamins did not prevent cancers or heart disease in postmenopausal women, similar to results from recent studies done on men.

Cancer-fighting agents are found in the everyday foods you eat, especially fruits and vegetables, and that is why doctors are most likely to recommend getting vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet of whole foods from the four basic food groups. Foods are absorbed more easily by your digestive system and are likely to work more effectively.

Cancer Prevention Pills with Potential

While you should always consult your primary care physician regarding your cancer concerns, find out as much as you can about cancer prevention pills so that you can be informed when your doctor makes a suggestion. The following pills have been thought to carry some promise.

Tamoxifen is a prescription drug that claims to prevent breast cancer in high-risk women, although it has not been proven to actually save or extend lives. Tamoxifen has some moderate side effects, such as water retention and dizziness.

A 2001 study conducted by British biotechnology firm Phytopharm PLC claimed that curry pills prevented or helped treat 15 patients that took part in its study. Phytopharm’s product, called P54, claims to inhibit the body’s production of an enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase 2 (or COX-2), which is involved in certain cancers and bodily inflammation. Aside from this study, there is no other solid proof that curry pills actually work and not much information about further studies.

Combination birth control pills do help decrease the risk of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer (for up to 30 years after they stop taking the pill), although birth control pills could increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. Birth control pills also may raise the risk of cervical and breast cancer in women as long as the pill is taken. It is confusing to consider, but the benefits of birth control pills outweigh the potential risks because the positive effects of the pill can last up to 30 years after you stop taking it.

Studies being carried out by institutions–under guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Urological Association (AUA)–show promising results for prescription drugs, such as Proscar and Avodart, to prevent prostate cancer in men. These drugs prevent the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Your primary care physician will be able to tell you if these pills are right for you.

Many health food companies