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Colorectal Cancer has New Treatments

Updated on April 2, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.


Photo Courtesy of NITI Surgical Cancer Treatment
Photo Courtesy of NITI Surgical Cancer Treatment

Latest Statistic for Colorectal Cancer

There are some new treatments for colorectal cancer available which is one of the most deadly cancers in the United States. There are new drugs that allow even those with advanced metastatic disease to live longer although, there is no cure.

At this point the drugs may just add several months to a person’s life, which may seem like a small amount of time, but to the patients and their loved ones it is very significant. Researchers are convinced better outcomes are just a matter of time.

In 2018, the estimated new cases will reach 97,220 (colon) and 43,030 (rectal), with deaths of the combined cancers estimated at 50,630 according to the American Cancer Society.

The definition for the two cancers are colon cancer is found in the longest part of the large intestine, and rectal cancer which forms in the tissues of the rectum including the last several inches of the large intestine. This is a disease of the cells in the lining which become abnormal, divide without control and form a tumor.


Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in men (after prostate cancer). For women it is also third, after breast cancer and lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States after lung cancer.

  • The exact cause of the cancer is unknown, but studies have shown some factors that seem to be linked to the increased risk of getting the disease.
  • Colorectal cancer is more likely to occur when people are older, although it can happen at any age, but for most people it is over 50.
  • Polyps are abnormal growths in the intestines that protrude from the lining and are usually benign. However, experts think that most cancers develop from polyps (known as adenomas), and detecting polyps and removing them may prolong your life. That is why once you reach 50 your physician pushes you to have a colonoscopy. During this procedure a physician will do a polypectomy if necessary.
  • A person who has already had this type of cancer is at an increased risk of developing it a second time. Also, women who have had ovarian, uterine or breast cancer have a higher probability of developing this disease.
  • Family history is also a consideration, as individuals with close relatives that have had colorectal cancer are somewhat more likely to develop this type of cancer. This is true particularly if the family member developed the cancer at a young age.
  • There are some diseases that can cause an increased of getting colorectal cancer, which are ulcerative colitis, crohn colitis as these conditions cause chronic inflammation in the lining of the colon.
  • There is evidence that diet is a factor. Diets that are associated with cancer include a high consumption of red and processed meats and a too low consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. There is currently research being done in this area.

Colon Cancer Treatment

Typical screenings for colorectal cancer

Fecal occult blood test: This test checks for hidden blood in fecal material. Studies have shown that this test alone when repeated every one to two years can reduce deaths by 15-33%. Bleeding from the rectum will be considered as a possible colon cancer sign.

Sigmoidscopy: The rectum and lower colon are examined in this test. If there s an abnormal growth it can be biopsied or removed.

Colonoscopy: The entire colon is examined with a lighted instrument called a colonoscope and thankfully anesthesia is part of the procedure. Again, abnormal growths can be removed or biopsied. You have to do a thorough cleansing ahead of time which is not particularly pleasant.

Virtual colonoscopy: This procedure is done with a CAT scan and the pictures are assembled to be examined as detailed images. This is certainly less invasive and anesthesia is not necessary, and it has the advantage of finding other cancers in the area that is x-rayed. It is more expensive however.

Digital rectal exam: This is a procedure done with the physician inserted his gloved hand with a lubricant into the rectum to feel for abnormal areas. I wouldn’t call this procedure much fun either.

A rather large group of various medical associations have come up with a list of criteria to determine which factors should determine the appropriate test for an individual, which includes the person’s age, medical and family history and general health. Also, they consider the accuracy of the test, potential harm of the test, whether sedation is necessary, any necessary follow-up care, plus the convenience and cost of the test.

3 Cancer Stages

Photo Courtesy of NITI Surgical Center
Photo Courtesy of NITI Surgical Center

New Treatment Protocols

Treatment started slowly changing about 1996 as new drugs were added or replaced, but the first real advance was in 2004. That is when targeted therapies began with the use of Avastin and Erbitux which specifically target cancer tumors; therefore side effects are less.

They started combining various drugs which would extend metastatic cancers for 5-6 months. Even still, there are draw backs to all these regimes, for instance, Avastin seems to increase the risk of hear attacks and strokes.

New research is using these drugs and other drug combination in earlier stages of the disease, which have positive results. Chemotherapy is typically given as systemic or regional therapy.

One of the problems they are facing is the very high costs of some of these drugs.

Targeted therapy may be used depending on the stage of colorectal cancer, and these drugs are given intravenously:

  • Bevacizumab (Avastin)
  • Ramucirumab (Cyramza)
  • Ziv-aflibercept (Zaltrap)
  • Cetuximab (Erbitux) with EGRF changes
  • Panitumumab (Vectibix) with EGRF changes

Insurance typically does cover the costs, but if you have a 20 % co-pay you will find out they are expensive medicines. Surgery is usually the standard treatment, followed by chemotherapy and radiation.

Life expectancy in 1995, was 11 months for colorectal cancer and now it is 2 years. While things have improved with the various new drug treatments we are certainly a long way from a cure. Research is being done continually on cancer treatment and advances are being made slowly.

"The benefits of these drugs are so dramatic that we can't deny people from getting them," says Damian Augustyn, MD, spokesperson for the American Gastroenterological Association. "But the costs will put an enormous strain on the health care system."

NeoPlas Innovation.

There is a new protocol under study called NeoPlas Innovation. Individuals from 26 U.S. states and four other countries have been among the first to use NeoPlas Innovation's new protocol. This has been our best top success for some patients where chemotherapy hasn’t worked, and they are not candidate for surgery due to the widespread growth of cancer cells.

It is not exclusive to just colon cancer, but also for kidney, pancreatic, melanoma, mesothelioma and certain sarcomas, being determined on a case by care basis.

The treatment is a combination of existing medicines, Lovastatin, (typically used to reduce cholesterol), and interferon. These drugs have a precise schedule, and the good news is there is no vomiting, hair loss, and immune system suppression as are seen in normal chemotherapy.

New colon cancer treatment (Vecvovet)

What can you do to Prevent Colorectal Cancer?

First, if you have a positive family history, you will want to make sure you have earlier evaluations. The fecal blood test is simple, and it is often done on women when they have there GYN appointment. It can also be done in your home, and where you take the samples to the lab when completed. If you have a positive test, than further testing will be done immediately.

The other thing you can do is live a healthy life, and particularly eat a healthy diet limiting red meat and processed meats. Eat more vegetables, fruits and grains. Always report any blood in your stool whether it is bright red or black.

Live a stress free as possible. Stress is often being shown to have a connection with many diseases. That is easier said than done, but take some quiet time of self reflection and meditation. Exercise so those healthy endorphins will be floating around your body.

Take time to have fun. You only have on shot at this life, so lighten up!

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nancy, Thank you for your comments.

  • nancy_30 profile image


    9 years ago from Georgia

    Thank you for sharing all of this very useful information.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Support Med, It is good news. Thank you for your comment.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 

    10 years ago from Michigan

    Pamela99: Thanks for this well scoped hub. It's good to know that things are improving. This will be helpful for those who are med students and those who work with patients who are going through this as well, very helpful. Voted/rated.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    theindianblues, I had hoped it was helpful for those people that needed to know more facts about cancer. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • theindianblues profile image


    10 years ago from Some where on the Globe

    Good information and many people really may need this and I am sure this info will certainly builds confidence of the people who are suffering and their families. Thank you for sharing an informative topic on public interest.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Audry, I'm glad your husband is getting his follow up treatments. Thanks for your comments.

    Wendy, Thanks so much o=for your comments.

    Loves to read, The kits are a great way to pick up a problem when it may be much more treatable. It is such a waste when people don't use them due to fear. Thanks for your comment.

    Dallas, That's so true. Better to be safe. Thanks for your comments.

  • dallas93444 profile image

    Dallas W Thompson 

    10 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

    Having experienced annual comprehensive "checkups" they are better than loosing parts of me, or losing all of me... Thanks for sharing!

  • Loves To Read profile image

    Loves To Read 

    10 years ago

    Wonderfully informative hub Pamela. Here in Oz the Government has started out sending these kits to the over 50's so these tests can be done at home. The stupid thing though is that most won't do them because they are fearful of the results. Great hub.

    Love and Hugs

  • Wendy Krick profile image

    Wendy Henderson 

    10 years ago from Cape Coral

    This is such good information. Thanks for sharing.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    10 years ago from Washington

    You are doing such a great job of informing folks - and that is what it truly is about. Bob has polyps and much as he'd like to ignore them and have them slither away, he has to have his exams as scheduled - or I bean him with a frying pan if he won't go. He goes!

    Super important information and something we all have to be aware of.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Habee, I'm glad they are making progress. Thanks for your comment.

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 

    10 years ago from Georgia

    This is great news! thanks for sharing!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    peacefulparadox, I agree and tried to make the point that diet is a factor that can prolong your life, and not just with cancer. Thanks so much for your comments as the detail added a nice component to my hub.

    Dawn, I think you are right and you made a wise decision for your family. It would be nice if that was the only type of product that was available then everyone would be healthier. Hope your father is okay. Thanks for your comments.

  • dawnM profile image

    Dawn Michael 

    10 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

    Thank-you for such an important and wonderful article. Your information is so valuable to millions of people out there. When my father got cancer 6 years ago I made it a point to only buy organic food and meat that was not treated with antibiotics or hormones. We digest so many chemicals and toxins on a daily basis that it is no wonder that our immune system is on over load and not able to control all of the free radicals that are part of our system.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I agree with the points to reduce meat consumption and to lessen stress. Try also to eat less processed foods and eat less of foods with a lot of preservatives and chemicals.

    Fruits and vegetables are important to eat and they should be the bulk of our meals (whereas it seems that many people are having meat as their bulk of their meals). For fruits with thin skin, organics are preferred (if you can afford it). However, it is still better to eat any fruit rather than no fruits.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hello, Thank your so much for your comments.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    10 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for such acomprehensive and useful information.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    msorensson, Thank you so much for your comment.

  • msorensson profile image


    10 years ago

    Well researched, Pamela. Thanks.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Katiem, I am a fan of prevention as well. I don't want and type of cancer, thank you. I appreciate your comments.

  • katiem2 profile image

    Katie McMurray 

    10 years ago from Westerville

    I like getting all the facts and your def the go to girl for that. I always wondered how I II and III differed and level three is way scary. Prevention lets do that. Peace :)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    K9keystorkes, I am glad you found the hub useful and I appreciate your comments.

    Anginwu, Thank you so much for your comments.

  • anglnwu profile image


    10 years ago

    Great informative here and great advice on how to lessen the odds. Thanks for sharing and rated useful!

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 

    10 years ago from Northern, California

    This information on colon cancer is outstanding! Knowing that diet and genetics seem to play a pivitol roll in this desease can help people become more cautious and aware of the symptoms. Thank you for sharing such vital research with us Pam.


  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Coolmon, Thanks for your comment.

    Vrajavala, Thanks for sharing all the extra information. I have thought for a long time that the estrogen and antibiotics they give livestock is harmful. Thanks again.

  • vrajavala profile image


    10 years ago from Port St. Lucie

    When i was a student in medical school, I learned that cancer was the result of chemical and physical irritants. Possibly there is contributing genetic predisposition. Unfortunately, in this country, the meat industry is a very powerful industry to contend with, and doctors are hesitant to make any recommendations that could "rock the boat."

    Obviously, chemical preservatives are going to substantially contribute to cancer.

    Another thing people don't realize is that really carnivorous animals have a very short intestinal tract, so that the meat eaten is quickly excreted. Human beings, on the other hand, are really not carnivores, since

    1. their dentition is not made for directly tearing and breaking up tough meat. A human being has to cook, slice with utensils, tenderize and cut in small pieces before ingesting the dead animal, whereas that is not true of the carnivore with claws and large sharp canines and powerful jaws.

    2. Human being's intestinal tract is very long, 20-23 feet long, so that the toxic preservatives are kept within the system for a few days, sometimes rotting in the colon and also contributing to body odor.

    Best thing is to vegetarian. Protein is readily available in tofu and beans.

  • Coolmon2009 profile image


    10 years ago from Texas, USA

    Good reference information. I will bookmark this article.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    10 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Tom, This is not the most pleasant topic but a very important one, so thanks for your compliment. I always appreciate your input.

  • Tom Whitworth profile image

    Tom Whitworth 

    10 years ago from Moundsville, WV


    Thank you for presenting very important information in another well researched Hub. You've perfomed a very important public service. Kudos!!!!!!!!!!!


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