Colorectal cancer: What our experts have to say

March 11, 2015 | by Denise Heady

Colorectal cancer may be one of the most common cancers in both men and women, but it's also one of the most curable cancers. Today, because of effective screening tests and more advanced treatment options, there are more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States.

Here, colorectal cancer experts Donald David, M.D., clinical professor and chief of City of Hope's Division of Gastroenterology, and Stephen Sentovich, M.D., a clinical professor of surgery at City of Hope, explain the importance of colorectal screening and the growing list of treatments for the disease.

On who is most at risk:

Sentovich: "In the U.S., we are all at risk of colon and rectal cancer. It can occur at any age, but the incidence increases as we age, particularly as we get over 50 years of age. For both men and women here in the U.S., the lifetime chance of getting colon and rectal cancer is about 5 percent. In some families, the risk is much higher due to genetic risk factors."

Read the full post: "Colorectal cancer: Why more people are surviving the disease"


On screening guidelines:

David: “There are several screening guidelines, and colonoscopies are thought to be the gold standard. It’s probably the most effective test available and it will pick up about 95 to 100 percent of colon cancers when they’re present. Another advantage is that they will also pick up polyps that are typically precancerous so we can remove those. Unlike the other technologies that are available, it’s the only one that we can actually remove a lesion that can turn into cancer.”

Read the full post: "Colonoscopy screenings: Hear the myths, get the facts (w/VIDEO)" (Also above.)


On why screening is not always one size fits all:

David: “Patients with a first-degree relative who had colon cancer, or those with multiple second-degree relatives who had colon cancer, need to be screened earlier and more often — every one to five years, depending on the situation — because those who develop cancer progress to a more advanced stage and develop cancer earlier than the general population."

Read the full post: "New colorectal cancer screening guidelines mean testing is no longer 'one size fits all'"


On costs of colonoscopies:

David: “Most insured patients, including those on Medicare, should have little to no co-pays for colonoscopies since they are routine screening procedures that have been shown to save lives and health care costs further down the line.”

Read the full post: "Colonoscopy screenings: Hear the myths, get the facts (w/VIDEO)(Also above.)


On treating advanced cancers:

Sentovich: “Colon cancer is very treatable, even when it’s in its worst stage, Stage 4. There is surgery, which is the primary treatment for colon cancer, but there is also excellent chemotherapy and radiation therapy that is used in combination with surgery to cure many patients.”

Hear the full podcast: "Colon cancer: Why screening absolutely saves lives"


On future treatments of colorectal cancer:

Sentovich: “Over the next 10 years, further advancements in the treatment of colon and rectal cancer will continue. Minimally invasive surgical treatments such as laparoscopic and robotic surgery will continue to be refined and improved. Improvements in medical therapy and radiation therapy may actually reduce the number of patients who actually need surgery. Not only will there be new drugs and combinations of drugs, but drug therapy will be individualized to each patient based on the genetic make-up of the particular tumor."

Read the full post: "Colorectal cancer: Why more people are surviving the disease"


Learn more about colorectal cancer and its research and treatment at City of Hope.


Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.


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