This ED drug may reduce colorectal cancer risk

One in 22 men is likely to develop colorectal cancer over a lifespan.

So what if taking the ED drug Viagra (sildenafil) could significantly reduce that risk?

At least one group of scientists say this is a possibility, according to results of a study that was conducted in mice and published in Cancer Prevention Research

Viagra and colorectal cancer risk

The researchers in this study evaluated the risk of developing colorectal cancer associated with a gene mutation called adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) among mice who were given Viagra. APC is a tumor suppressor, so individuals with an APC genetic mutation may develop scores of colorectal polyps, which have the potential to develop into cancer.

In this study, the investigators, under direction of cancer researcher Dr. Darren D. Browning of the Georgia Cancer Center and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Augusta University, learned that a low dose of sildenafil — the generic name for Viagra — taken daily by mice who had been genetically modified to develop colorectal polyps caused a rise in levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP).

Research has shown that cGMP plays a role in regulating the balance of the internal layer in the intestinal wall that protects against foreign substances and bacteria.

Sildenafil inhibits a substance (phosphodiesterase-5) that can increase cGMP. Phosphodiesterase-5, an enzyme that is found naturally in colon cells, can break down cGMP, which in turn makes it readily available to produce cells that can protect the inner intestinal layer against the formation of polyps. The authors also found that sildenafil assisted in the natural process of the death of abnormal cells and their elimination from the body.

Overall, use of sildenafil in this mouse study reduced the risk of cancerous polyps by 50 percent. The next steps include human clinical trials in which the participants are individuals at high risk of colorectal cancers. Because a low dose of the drug appears to be adequate, Dr. Browning noted that side effects from Viagra are unlikely.

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Should you take ED drugs if you don’t need them?

Certain men are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. If you have low blood pressure, take medications for high blood pressure, take nitrate medication for chest pain, have congestive heart failure or have active coronary heart disease, you are at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems from taking ED drugs.

So, even though it appears there could be some cancer-protective benefit to taking sildenafil, it’s not generally advisable to take ED drugs unless you truly need to.

Other reported dangers of misusing ED drugs include:

  • Drug dependence.
  • Developing ED when not using the drugs.
  • Potentially fatal mixing of ED drugs with club drugs.
  • Increased risk of unsafe sex.
  • Increased risk of sexually transmitted disease.

Reduce your risk of colorectal cancer

Colon cancer is typically considered a disease of aging. But more and more cases are cropping up in men in under the age of 50, especially in minority groups.

According to researchers, several issues could influence the development of colorectal cancer at a younger age, including hereditary and environmental factors, diet and lifestyle. Other possible reasons for advanced stage diagnosis among minorities may include lower screening rates and access to health care.

That makes getting screening earlier and often important to save more lives. In the meantime these tips can help reduce your colorectal threat quite a bit:

  1. If you smoke, stop. Smoking doubles your risk of colorectal polyps.
  2. Exercise regularly. Research at the Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis shows that individuals who exercised regularly for at least 10 years had the lowest risk of colon cancer death.
  3. Eat fiber-rich foods, including fruits and cruciferous vegetables (especially broccoli) to avoid chronic constipation, which increases your risk for colorectal cancer significantly.

Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!


  1. American Cancer Society. Key statistics for colorectal cancer.
  2. Islam BN et al. Sildenafil suppresses inflammation-driven colorectal cancer in mice. Cancer Prevention Research (Philadelphia) 2017 Jul; 10(7): 377-88
  3. Rubayat Rahman, Chester Schmaltz, Christian S. Jackson, Eduardo J. Simoes, Jeannette Jackson-Thompson, Jamal A. Ibdah. Increased risk for colorectal cancer under age 50 in racial and ethnic minorities living in the United States. Cancer Medicine, 2015; 4 (12): 1863 DOI: 10.1002/cam4.560
Craig Cooper

By Craig Cooper

Craig Cooper is a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author, and TV host of CNBC's "Adventure Capitalists". He is an “Ambassador” for both the global men’s health foundation “Movember” and 2XU, the performance sportswear company. He is the author of the Harper Collins book “Your New Prime: 30 Days to Better Sex, Eternal Strength, and a Kick-Ass Life After 40“. Follow Craig on Instagram @craigcooperrrr and Facebook.