Posted on February 5th, 2009 by
From the Colorectal Cancer Coalition
- First and most important is that colorectal cancer is truly preventable—not just curable if found early like most cancers. Finding and removing precancerous polyps prevent the cancer from ever occurring. Effective screening could prevent most colorectal cancers.
- Women in the United States are just as likely as men to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and just as likely to die from it. The American Cancer Society estimates that 75,810 women and 72,800 men will be diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer in 2006 and that 27,300 women and 27,870 men will die of it.
- People with no family history can get colorectal cancer—there is a family connection in only about 20% of colorectal cancer cases, and the large majority (80–85%) of colorectal cancer patients has no history of it in their families.
- Although 90% of colorectal cancers are diagnosed after the age of 50, young people can and do get the disease. They need to be aware of the symptoms, and symptoms must be followed up with a colonoscopy to rule out colon cancer regardless of the person’s age. Watching and waiting is not an option.
Colon cancer is treatable and curable. Diagnosed in its early stages, it can often be cured with surgery, although chemotherapy can improve the chances of cure. Even some advanced cases, where cancer has already spread to other organs, can be cured with surgery. Treatment planning with a multidisciplinary team—oncologist, surgeons, and radiologists—is critical to successfully treating metastatic colorectal cancer.
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