Tag Archives: survival

Colorectal Cancer News in Brief: September 12

In research, cancer patients who are separated but not yet divorced have the poorest chances of surviving 5 and 10 years after their diagnoses, and researchers at the VA Medical Center in Houston have identified a strong predictor of colon and rectal cancer survival by studying if cancer has spread into nerves near tumors. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network provides online treatment summaries for people with cancer, and new rules from the Department of Health and Human Services require that patients be notified when HIPAA rules are broken and their privacy is compromised.

Colorectal Cancer News in Brief: August 31

Clinical features of colon tumors can predict survival, acupressure bands reduce nausea during radiation therapy, and there was no connection between the amount of fish a person ate and risk for colorectal cancer.  Although blacks have an increased risk for colon and breast cancer, hospitals matter.  All patients — white or black — did worse in hospitals that treated a majority of black patients. Surgical robots are being developed with a light touch that can tell the difference between normal and tumor tissue.

Laparoscopic Surgery a Safe Choice for Rectal Cancer

In the hands of experts, laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer was as successful as an open abdominal operation.  Cancer free survival after five years wasn’t any different, and cancer was no more likely to return in and around the rectum. Even if surgeons had to change their approach during the operation and convert from laparoscopic to open surgery, outcomes were not affected.

Aspirin Saves Lives after Colon Cancer Treatment

Colorectal cancer patients with early stage disease were 30 percent less likely to die from cancer and 20 percent less likely to die at all if they took aspirin regularly after their diagnosis. Benefit was even greater for those who began taking the medicine for the first time after their diagnosis. However, only the group whose tumors tested positive for COX-2 (cyclooxygenase2) benefited from aspirin.  

Early Tumor Shrinkage Points to Good Erbitux Outcomes

Patients with advanced colorectal cancer whose tumors have gotten smaller six weeks after starting treatment with Erbitux had a much longer time before their cancer got worse and almost twice the overall survival as patients whose tumors didn’t shrink. Patients in the BOND study had already gotten worse on standard chemotherapy and were receiving either Erbitux® (cetuximab) alone or in combination with irinotecan.  CT scans  for about a third of them showed at least a 10 percent decrease in the size of their tumors six weeks into treatment.

Lack of Insurance Impacts Survival in CRC Patients Under 65.

Not having insurance reduces the chance that someone with colorectal cancer will live a year after their diagnosis.  Even when patients from 18 to 64 have other illnesses, their insurance status makes a difference in survival. Risk of dying during that first year was 50 to 90 percent higher among the uninsured.  They were more likely to diagnosed at an advanced stage and live in poor neighborhoods. Other illness (comorbidities) was lowest in privately insured patients and highest in patients under 65 on Medicare, who were likely to have Medicare because of a disability.

Adding Irinotecan to Infusional 5-FU Does Not Add Benefit for Stage III Colon Cancer

Five years after surgery, there was no improvement in either disease-free survival or overall survival when irinotecan was added to standard 5-FU treatments delivered via continous infusion for patients with stage III colon cancer.  Adding irinotecan increased the rate of serious side effects. The PETACC-3  (Pan European Trial Adjuvant Colon Cancer)  trial was designed to see if adding irinotecan to 5-FU and leucovorin could increase the percentage of stage III patients who were alive and cancer-free (disease-free survival).  It also studied overall survival and relapse-free survival.

Tumor Mutation Predicts Poor Prognosis in Stage I-III Colon Cancer

By studying changes in tumor tissue from colon cancer patients whose cancers had not spread to distant organs, researchers were able to isolate a gene mutation that led to a poor outcome. Stage I through III colon cancer patients whose tumors had a mutation in the PIK3CA gene were more likely to die of colon cancer that patients with normal or wild-type PIK3CA.  About 1 in 5 patients had that mutation in tumor tissue. After adjusting for other variables that affect death from colon cancer, patients with a PIK3CA mutation were more than twice as likely to die from colon cancer.  This was especially true in KRAS wild-type tumors where

Aggressive Treatment Leads to Cures for Colon and Rectal Cancers

Colon and rectal cancer that is attached to critical body structures like the wall of the pelvis or important large veins has traditionally been considered not surgically treatable.  Patients have been offered palliative treatments designed to extend life or reduce symptoms, but the goal wasn’t cure. However, Mayo Clinic surgeons are now working together with teams of surgeons, radiologists, and oncologists to treat normally unresectable colon and rectal cancer with a combination of therapies.  Surgery, both external radiation and radiotherapy done during surgery, and chemotherapy have gone beyond palliative care for this group of patients.  Almost half of the patients treated with the multimodality approach were alive and cancer free

Depression Can Hasten Cancer Death

Depressed patients with advanced cancer die sooner than those who are not depressed.  The more serious the depression, the more likely they are to die prematurely. Researchers in the United Kingdom screened cancer patients for depression using tests that were originally designed to diagnose depression in women after childbirth.  They looked at feelings of worthlessness and sadness and thoughts of suicide, as well as measuring pain and cancer symptoms.  They found a little less than one-third (29 percent) of advanced cancer patients were depressed.  Six months later half of those identified patients who were still alive remained depressed.

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