People with increased risk of developing certain cancers are advised to take medicines that improve their prognosis.
If there is a mutation in the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes, the woman is likely to get breast cancer or ovarian cancer. She has two methods of prevention: medication and surgery. Her doctor may recommend taking tamoxifen. However, in the postmenopause, this drug increases the risk of thromboembolism (artery clogging by the thrombus) and endometrial cancer. Raloxifene may be an alternative for women in postmenopause, as it has fewer side effects, although it has a weaker effect. (Its effect on women before menopause has not been studied.) Unfortunately, however, raloxifen is not sold in Russia. Aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole, letrozole) also reduce the risk of breast cancer, have few serious side effects, but cause pain in muscles and joints. They are recommended mainly for women in postmenopause.
Mammary glands and ovaries are also removed as prevention in the West, but these methods are not officially used in Russia unless a woman has cancer.
There are no recommended drugs for prostate cancer (RPG) prevention. But there are medicines finasteride and dutasteride, they do reduce the number of people with RPG. However, when a person gets sick, the cancer is more aggressive, and as a result, the death rate from it is the same as without these drugs.
Aspirin (at least 75 mg per day) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are proven to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. However, prolonged use of this drug makes gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke more likely. Therefore, prescribe such prevention can only a doctor, having assessed all the risks.
The results of recent scientific work indicate that statins significantly reduce mortality from cancer and probably reduce the incidence of cancer. These drugs are prescribed to people who have high cholesterol levels and potentially serious problems with the cardiovascular system. Metformin, which is prescribed to people with prediabetes or diabetes to reduce insulin levels, is also likely to prevent cancer.
Is it necessary to take vitamins?
Multivitamin complexes in numerous studies have not shown their effectiveness in preventing cancer. However, it is known that with a sufficient amount of vitamin D in the body there is less risk of getting colorectal cancer. Calcium – at least 700 mg per day (more than 2000 mg increase the risk of prostate cancer) – and folate also contribute to the same. Folate also reduces the risk of breast cancer, especially in women who drink alcohol.
The rest of the vitamins and trace elements have either not been tested, or have shown contradictory results in studies, or proved ineffective in preventing cancer.
Are vitamins useful in cancer treatment? It has even been found that taking beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers, and vitamin E, taken separately, contributes to the emergence of prostate cancer, and the effect remains even after the cessation of this drug. Currently, many more studies show the harm from taking vitamins in the treatment of oncology.