Colon Cancer Treatments Need Improvements

Two new studies contain disappointing news for people who’ve undergone colon cancer treatment.

Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, according to background information in the JNCI study.

As many as 80 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer have localized disease, which means at the time of surgery, it appears that the cancer hasn’t spread to other sites.

When colon cancer is surgically removed, surgeons also remove surrounding lymph nodes to look for any signs that the cancer has spread.

The first study, published in the Sept. 9 online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), found that just 38 percent of U.S. hospitals sampled were testing enough lymph nodes after colon cancer surgery to accurately assess the extent to which the disease had spread.

The second study, in the Oct. 15 issue of the journal Cancer, found that only 40 percent of people who’d been successfully treated for colon cancer were receiving all of the recommended follow-up tests.

Of the first study, Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancer for the American Cancer Society, said, “It’s concerning that such a low percentage of hospitals are in compliance.”

And, Brooks said the second study “isn’t the first that has shown a lack of adequate surveillance after treatment.

This study shows the importance for patients to be educated about their initial care and follow-up. It behooves patients to know what is the appropriate follow-up.”

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