All types of cancer are under continuous research and study. Main purpose is to increase the survival period of the patients diagnosed with cancer and the ultimate objective is to find a cure for this life threatening illness. The prognosis of many types of cancer including colorectal cancer has improved over the last decade. With improved screening methods and availability of better treatment options, the death rate from colorectal cancer has dropped as compared to the previous years. However, this progress may seem slow and depressing to the victims of colon cancer, but still it’s not a backward walk.
Improved Diagnostic Tests
Colon cancer is a real threat to life when it is detected in the advanced stages, but the chances of cure and survival are high when it is caught in the early stages. The greatest barrier in the early detection of colorectal cancer is the avoidance of screening tests for the detection of this cancer. Screening tests for colon cancer are highly recommended for the people above 50 years of age despite of experiencing any symptoms. Fear and embarrassment are two major factors that hinder most people from appearing for the screening tests. However, improved methods of screening and awareness about the significance of these tests have increased the early detection ratio of colorectal cancer.
Following are some of the screening tests which are effective and easier as compared to the conventional methods of screening;
- Virtual colonoscopy is non invasive test that requires bowel cleansing and is also known as CT colonography
- DNA stool test determines the DNA changes in the cells that shed with stool. Through this test the presence of polyps (precancerous or cancerous cells) can be identified
- Capsule endoscopy involves the mouth intake of a pill sized camera which provides the image of the entire colon. However, it is not yet recommended as a standard procedure for colon cancer screening
- Colonoscopy still remains on the top of all the screening tests, because of its reliability and durability
Improved Treatment Methods
It has been acknowledged that treatment procedures are more effective when the molecular characteristics of cancer are considered in a particular patient. The treatment for colon cancer is getting more personalized and has more inclination towards targeted therapies.Some of the effective targeted therapy drugs have been discovered in the past few years to treat metastatic colon cancer. Approved by FDA include;
- Erbitux (Cetuximab)
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