Recent research by the American Cancer Society (ACS) resulted in changes for colon cancer screening. Based on its findings, the ACS lowered the recommended age from 50 to 45. The five-year difference is important to note when it comes to managing your health care. The ACS predicts that more than 45,000 Virginians will receive a colon cancer diagnosis during 2019. Learning more about the screening process is one step a patient can take in preventing and fighting this dreaded disease.
October 16, 2019
Cancer does not discriminate. Whether these malignancies are caused by genetics, environmental exposure or simply bad luck, the road to recovery is harrowing and unfortunately, not always guaranteed. Men are particularly susceptible to a handful of cancers that carry a history of high death tolls. Today’s oncologists are working to change that as they break ground on new treatments and immunotherapies that surpass the success of traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy. “What’s being developed are treatments that target certain molecular structures either in or on the cancer cell,” says Dr. Thomas Alberico of Virginia Oncology Associates. “Where before we were seeing response rates in the five to 10 percent range with standard chemotherapy, now we’re seeing response rates in the 40, 50 and 60 percent range [with new therapies].”
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published in February 2017 that colorectal cancer in young adults has risen dramatically in generations born after 1950. Those currently between the ages of 18-27 have 2 times the risk of developing colon cancer and 4 times the risk of developing rectal cancer than people born in the 1950s were when they were between those ages.
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer develops in the colon or rectum and can be referred to as either colon cancer or rectal cancer. Most begin with a polyp appearing on the inner lining of the rectum. Polyps are more common in people age 50 or above. If a polyp is cancerous, the cells can spread to the wall of the colon or rectum, and then to the blood or lymph vessels of the colon or rectum and eventually metastasize throughout the body. Symptoms of colon or rectal cancers can include:
February 16, 2018
In 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled against one company owning the patent on genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Changes in these genes are associated with a high risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The ruling cited that human genes are not eligible for patents because they are a product of nature. Since this ruling, the world of cancer genetic testing has opened up both scientifically and financially.
Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, only one commercial laboratory was able to offer testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Since the patent has been overturned, multiple laboratories have started to offer testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 and from this, multigene cancer panels have emerged. Multigene cancer panels allow testing for many additional genes associated with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and various other cancers.