We have already discussed the role of calcium in the prevention of colon cancer. This has been a very significant finding given the fact that over half the population is marginally deficient in calcium due to insufficient daily intake. Patients with low selenium intake are also at risk for developing colon cancer and breast cancer, as well as lung cancer.
Polyps are growths that can occur in the rectum and colon. These can be easily removed, but they often recur. About 20 percent of all polyps transform into cancer, so it is important to try to prevent their recurrence once they have been resected. The recurrence of polyps was examined in one study sponsored by the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto, Canada. After surgical resection of polyps in 200 people who were then deemed free of all other polyps, one group of 100 patients was given a daily supplement of 400 milligrams of vitamin С and 400 IU of vitamin E. The other group received a placebo. After two years of treatment, a slight reduction of polyp recurrences was noted in the patient group receiving the vitamin supplementation.
Another similar study at six different research centers in the United States involved 865 people. They too had resected polyps and were deemed free of polyps at the time they were enrolled in the program. One group received supplements of vitamins С and E; the second group received beta-carotene; the third group got vitamins С and E as well as beta-carotene; and the fourth group got a placebo. This trial is still ongoing, but the results thus far are encouraging and show some promise, since the people who received vitamins С and E plus beta-carotene had a decreased recurrence rate.
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