For those of you who have had friends or family members that have battled colon cancer or were a victim yourself, you know how terrible this disease can be. Having survived such an ailment, no one wants to relive their past or live on the edge knowing that if can affect them again or they can succumb to its aftermath a few years later. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as colon cancer has been noted to have a high recurrence rate. In particular, it has been noted that about 20% of patients with treated colon cancer see recurring signs within five years.
Colon cancer is a disease that takes over the walls of the colon with abnormal growths called tumors. Affecting the excretion and part of the digestive process, victims are always trying to curtail the spread of this cancer that affects other vital organs of the body such as the liver. Particularly, functions of the colon include absorbing minerals and water for storage, forming feces for expulsion, storing bacteria to aid in the digestion process and thereby preventing the increase and circulation of harmful bacteria, as well as maintain a proper pH for chemical reactions.
Generally, other researchers have noted that recurrence rates for colon cancer vary between 4% and 55%. But technology has come to the rescue once more. Researchers have devised a genetic test, in which the recurrence of a patient’s colon cancer is predicted. Ideally, it scans the genes of the patient during the early stages of the first diagnosis of the cancer to state the chances in which this disease will come back after treatment.
Generally, this is a great achievement and can do much in the process of treatment as this information obtained from the test can aid the doctor in determining whether chemotherapy is a good choice after surgery due to the fact it will eventually reappear. In fact, it can help the doctor to decide whether surgery should be the only treatment method used, or whether chemotherapy and radiation treatments should also be conducted, making it a bit more intensive.
Hopefully in 2010, this test can be launched commercially, as purported by Genomic Health, a science company founded to improve the quality of cancer treatment for patients through the use of research, growth and the commercialization of medical laboratory services. As Dr. Leonard Saltz simply puts it “the test clearly tells people that they have a greater likelihood of being in the group that is at high risk or low risk of having a reappearance”. All things considered, it provides the patient with the overall comfort of deciding whether or not to do chemotherapy which is another piece of information that can guide discussions between doctor and patients regarding their status and the best choice moving forward.