viagra for cancer

Viagra May Cut Colorectal Cancer Risk

At the end of it all there is an unexpected nonsexual side effect, the popular erectile dysfunction drug could end up saving lives.

The little blue pill that has become famous for changing the sex lives of countless men around the world may have an even more powerful effect that could save people’s lives, new research reveals. Viagra may help in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, which is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths among both men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. A study published in February 2018 in the Journal Cancer Prevention Research found that when researchers gave a small, daily dose of sildenafil, also known as Viagra, to male and female mice that had been genetically modified to develop a large number of intestinal polyps, their risk of developing colorectal cancer dropped by 50 percent.

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What Does Viagra (Sildenafil) Do to the Body?

Viagra is a member of a class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors. These drugs increase levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP, for short), a substance that contributes to proper functioning of smooth muscle cells throughout the body and helps regulate the homeostasis of the layer of cells in the intestinal lining.

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ED Drug May Help Suppress Unwanted Cell Growth

In the study, researchers found that a daily dose of the erectile dysfunction drug cut the formation of colon polyps in half. This is significant because polyps, which are clumps of cells that form in the inner lining of the colon, can become cancerous. The results suggest that Viagra (which was added to the mice’s drinking water) suppresses “the normal rate of turnover in the layer of cells that lines the inside of the intestine,” explains study coauthor Darren Browning, PhD, a scientist and researcher at the Georgia Cancer Center in the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. “We believe that Viagra increases the resilience of the lining and simultaneously suppresses proliferation of the cells below — those proliferating cells are the ones that cancer starts in.”

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Mutations that cause cancer in those cells can occur randomly through errors in cell division or with exposure to carcinogens in food or other substances that are ingested. By using Viagra (sildenafil) to reduce the number of proliferating cells, “we are proportionally reducing susceptibility to the initiation of cancer,” Dr. Browning says. While the study found that the suppression of cell proliferation begins within 24 hours after the first dose of Viagra, “the lining of the gut is replaced around every five days, so we believe the maximum protective effect will occur after taking the drug for five days,” Browning notes. But when use of the drug is stopped, the turnover of cells in the intestinal lining reverts back to its original rate.

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Promise, But Not Proof, That Viagra Can Help Slow Cancer Growth

As promising as these findings are, more research needs to be done before Viagra can be used to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in humans. “This is an interesting preclinical study [that] adds interesting data to the growing literature on the role of cGMP in intestinal tumor formation,” says David Liska, MD, a colorectal surgeon at The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “However, further studies are needed before conclusions can be drawn regarding the clinical utility of these drugs in preventing colon cancer.”

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Potentially Helpful News for People With Increased Colon Cancer Risk

It may occur that drugs that can reduce the incidence of polyp formation will prove to be most beneficial for people who inherit genetic mutations that can cause them to develop hundreds to thousands of colon polyps and have a high risk of colorectal cancer as a result, Dr. Liska adds. It’s also possible that other PDE5 inhibitors that have polyp-reducing effects “that are equally safe over the long term might be better for chemoprevention of colon cancer in people,” Browning adds. Hopefully, time and future clinical trials will shed insight into these issues.

harrison viano

He is simple, funny, adventurous and welcoming. He founded Shzboxtoday to help anyone/everyone who is shy like him to find a solution to pressing health matters and still remain anonymous. You can reach-out to him via Facebook, Instagram or Email.

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