Calcium and Vitamin D for Colon Cancer Prevention
Role of Supplements Studied in Lesion Development
Nine institutions, including M. D. Anderson, are conducting the research study, which began this spring. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will involve the recruitment of 2,400 people.
The other study sites are: Dartmouth University (New Hampshire), Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina, University of Southern California, Emory University (Georgia) and University of Colorado.
Participants in this trial must:
Be considered at average risk for colon cancer development and have already had adenomas (polyps) recently removed
Be men or women of any age, although most people do not develop adenomas until after age 50
Have no strong genetic history of colon cancer
During the study, participants will:
Take either calcium alone, vitamin D alone, a calcium/vitamin D combination or a placebo
Complete food frequency questionnaires and other surveys
Receive an annual colonoscopy and routine blood tests
Receive follow-up telephone calls to determine their compliance with the program
Receive follow-up care for three to five years
During a colonoscopy, patients are given full sedation before a flexible, lighted tube is inserted into the rectum and slowly guided into the colon. This instrument, called a colonoscope, transmits an image of the inside of the colon, so physicians can carefully examine the lining for growths. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that everyone have this test every 10 years starting at age 50 to help detect colorectal cancer.
“This study will not put a big burden on patients,” Bresalier says. “We’ve usually found good compliance with such studies.”
Colon cancer facts
Although colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States, it is the second deadliest. The ACS estimates that approximately 56,730 Americans will die from the disease this year. Screening can catch changes in the colon before they become cancerous, or can find cancer in its early stages, when chances of a cure are better.
Joining the trial
To learn more about the calcium and vitamin D trial, contact the study site in your area. If you’d like to learn more about participating in the M. D. Anderson study, contact Tammi Smith, study research nurse in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medicine and Nutrition, at (713) 563-4394.
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