Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

When colorectal cancer is caught before spreading, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent.
Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Over 53,200 people living in the United States died of colorectal cancer in 2020, according to federal estimates. Although this type of cancer can be preventable, it is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States behind only lung cancer.

Colonoscopy screening can prevent colorectal cancer because precancerous polyps found during the procedure can be removed at the same time, before they ever develop into cancers. The procedure can also detect colorectal cancers at an early stage, before they have spread, when successful treatment is more likely. In fact, the five-year survival rate for localized colorectal cancer is 90.2 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

In 2020, an estimated 147,950 people in the United States were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 

Colorectal cancer is more common in men than women. It is also more common among African Americans than people of other races. The median age of diagnosis in the United States is 67 years, and 78 percent of newly diagnosed patients are aged 55 and older. 

What Is the AACR Doing in This Area?

In October 2021, the AACR will hold its fourth colorectal cancer-focused special conference.

The AACR has recently awarded research grants to investigators pursuing promising research related to colorectal cancer.

Karuna Ganesh, MD, PhD, an assistant member at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, received a three-year AACR NextGen Grant for Transformative Cancer Research. To understand how colorectal cancer (CRC) metastasizes, Dr. Ganesh is performing single-cell analyses of normal/primary/metastatic CRC patient samples, and 3D cell culture models called organoids. He aims to define how colorectal cancer cells morph into regenerative cell states that are required for metastasis. Such an understanding is critical for the development of more effective treatments for metastatic cancer.

“This grant will provide critical funds to enable us to pursue an ambitious program of research to better understand and treat advanced cancers,” says Dr. Ganesh.

Conghui Yao, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School, received a two-year AACR Anna D. Barker Basic Cancer Research Fellowship. Dr. Yao’s fellowship project is to study the effects of obesity on anti-tumor immunity.

“I hope that my research will provide new insights in the field of cancer biology and contribute to the development of novel cancer therapies,” says Dr. Yao.