March 1, 2023

Finding colorectal cancer early is key

Compounders can help ease the side effects of colorectal cancer treatment

Once upon a time, you may have had to sit down with your young children to discuss the birds and the bees. But these tough conversations do not stop in adolescence: Have you talked to your (adult) children about “the bums and the bees”?

If they are 45 years or older, you should encourage them to start colorectal cancer screening. March marks Colorectal Cancer Awareness month and should serve as a friendly reminder to have those tough conversations.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control.1 It is the 4th most common type of cancer in the United States.2 Anyone can develop it, but some have a higher risk than others—for instance, patients with a family history of colorectal cancers or certain inflammatory bowel diseases. Race is also a factor: Blacks have a >20% higher incidence rate of CRC than Whites.3

As with all cancers, early detection greatly improves treatment success and outcomes. In recent years, screening for CRC has become less intimidating with convenient, at-home stool testing kits and virtual colonoscopies.

When the results aren’t benign, what’s next? Should you (or a loved one) find yourself facing a positive cancer diagnosis, you will work with your medical team to develop a personalized treatment plan, which may include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and/or immunotherapy.

As you go through treatment, compounding pharmacists can work with your cancer team to create custom prescription and non-prescription therapies to help you feel more comfortable, including:

  • Nausea support: Pharmacists can work with oncologists to provide topical anti-nausea medications to support those patients who are struggling with taking oral medications.
  • Ostomy care: If you require placement of a temporary or permanent ostomy, compounding pharmacies can combine topical anti-inflammatories and/or anesthetics in a protective or moisturizing base for the skin.
  • Low dose naltrexone (LDN): There is mounting research and interest in the use of LDN in conjunction with traditional oncolytic treatments in a variety of cancers, including CRC. Compounding pharmacists can provide oncologists and patients with the research and education to make an informed decision if LDN is an option.4
  • IV nutrition: Sterile compounding pharmacies can formulate custom IV nutrition bags or vials based on the individual patient’s needs. IV nutrition can be used in conjunction with traditional chemotherapy for nutrient replacement or with certain oxidation regimens, such as high-dose ascorbic acid.5
  • Supplements: Pharmacists can help oncologists and patients with selecting the appropriate pharmaceutical grade supplements. It is important to work with a pharmacist to ensure the supplements do not interfere with a patient’s prescribed chemotherapy regimen.

The professionals at your local compounding pharmacy are an excellent resource who can help you manage the side effects of your treatment. To learn more about compounding and to find a compounding pharmacy near you, visit and