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Can non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prevent colorectal cancer?

Many studies have found that people who regularly use aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) have a lower risk of colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps. Most of these studies looked at people who took these medicines for reasons such as to treat arthritis or prevent heart attacks. Other, stronger studies have provided evidence that aspirin can prevent the growth of polyps in people who were previously treated for early stages of colorectal cancer or who previously had polyps removed.

But NSAIDs can cause serious or even life-threatening side effects such as bleeding from stomach irritation, which may outweigh the benefits of these medicines for the general public. For this reason, experts do not recommend NSAIDs as a cancer prevention strategy for people at average risk of developing colorectal cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.