in Colorectal Cancer Treatment
A leading academic medical center, Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin is an innovator in treatment developments.
When it comes to colonoscopy, Dr. O'Loughlin says "virtual" colonoscopy, using imaging technology, is in its infancy. "It's a diagnostic test only. Colonoscopy is diagnostic and therapeutic, meaning that if you see a polyp, you can remove it immediately. With virtual, you'd still have to have a colonoscopy to remove that polyp." Still, Dr. O'Loughlin believes virtual colonoscopy will become more useful in 10 or 15 years.
In radiation oncology, researchers are looking at combining radiation with the most effective chemotherapy drugs available to help the radiation do a better job of killing cancer cells, says Dr. Erickson. They're also looking at how to minimize side effects and risks of radiation by improving techniques to spare normal tissues that don't need the radiation, while treating areas that do need it.
Perhaps the greatest number of developments on the horizon are in chemotherapy. Dr. Ritch described a number of trials and studies looking at:
- Dose-dense therapy or compacting chemo into shorter, more intense cycles, already a standard approach for breast cancer
- A new drug that stimulates tumor cells to die
- Ways to prevent numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes, a significant side effect of one of the most common colon cancer regimens
With new treatments being studied every day, it's vital to get a colonoscopy at age 50 — earlier if you have symptoms, a family history or other risk factors. An early diagnosis may save your life.
Source: Froedtert Today
Date: December 2005