Drug combo could prevent colon cancer

"When they told me I had colon cancer I could not believe it,'" said Ivelisse Page.

Thirty-eight-year-old Ivelisse Page is a mother of four. Colon cancer was not part of her plan.

"Prayers are what's given me the peace and strength to keep going," said Page.

Colon cancer is the third deadliest cancer, but doctors are investigating if a combination of two drugs can stop it before it develops.

"We are targeting these polyps, which are risk factors," said Eugene Gerner, Ph.D., director, Arizona Cancer Center.

Half of those over 50 will develop a colon polyp at some point in their lives. Over time the clumps of cells may turn into cancer.

"If we could stop them presumably, the mortality due to colon cancer will also go down by more than 50 percent," said Gerner.

The anti-inflammatory drug Sulindac and the cancer-fighting compound DFMO were tested on people with a history of polyps. Results showed it stopped them from returning up to 95-percent of the time.

"I knew because of my age, I was at a higher risk," said Linda Leighton.

Retired school teacher Linda Leighton had polyps removed from her colon. She didn't want to wait to find out if they would return and enrolled in the study.

"My post screening came out that there were no polyps and I was very excited and hopeful," said Leighton.

A woman who's taking cancer prevention into her own hands.

The University of Arizona and University of California Irvine are collaborating on this colon cancer research project. The new combination drug treatment is not yet approved by the FDA. More clinical trials are planned this year.



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