Oncology & Cancer

Bacteria play critical role in driving colon cancers

Patients with an inherited form of colon cancer harbor two bacterial species that collaborate to encourage development of the disease, and the same species have been found in people who develop a sporadic form of colon cancer, ...

Genetics

Study finds crucial step in DNA repair

Scientists at Washington State University have identified a crucial step in DNA repair that could lead to targeted gene therapy for hereditary diseases such as "children of the moon" and a common form of colon cancer.

Neuroscience

Team discovers potential new way to treat anxiety

Chemically modified inhibitors of the COX-2 enzyme relieve anxiety behaviors in mice by activating natural "endocannabinoids" without gastrointestinal side effects, Vanderbilt University scientists will report next week.

Oncology & Cancer

Cancer cells' universal 'dark matter' exposed

Using the latest gene sequencing tools to examine so-called epigenetic influences on the DNA makeup of colon cancer, a Johns Hopkins team says its results suggest cancer treatment might eventually be more tolerable and successful ...

Oncology & Cancer

Immunotherapy prior to surgery is effective in colon cancer

Patients with colon cancer but without distant metastases can benefit from a short course of immunotherapy while waiting for their surgery, as it can cause tumours to shrink substantially or clear up in a very short time. ...

Medical research

A window into the hidden world of colons

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have developed a system that allows for real-time observations of individual cells in the colon of a living mouse.

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Colorectal cancer, commonly known as bowel cancer, is a cancer from uncontrolled cell growth in the colon, rectum, or appendix. Symptoms typically include rectal bleeding and anemia which are sometimes associated with weight loss and changes in bowel habits.

Most colorectal cancer occurs due to lifestyle and increasing age with only a minority of cases associated with underlying genetic disorders. It typically starts in the lining of the bowel and if left untreated, can grow into the muscle layers underneath, and then through the bowel wall. Screening is effective at decreasing the chance of dying from colorectal cancer and is recommended starting at the age of 50 and continuing until a person is 75 years old. Localized bowel cancer is usually diagnosed through sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

Cancers that are confined within the wall of the colon are often curable with surgery while cancer that has spread widely around the body is usually not curable and management then focuses on extending the person's life via chemotherapy and improving quality of life. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, but it is more common in developed countries. Around 60% of cases were diagnosed in the developed world. It is estimated that worldwide, in 2008, 1.23 million new cases of colorectal cancer were clinically diagnosed, and that it killed 608,000 people.

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