What is colorectal cancer?

  • Our digestive systems include the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines. The first six feet of the large intestine are called the large bowel or colon. The last six inches are the rectum and the anal canal.
  • Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon. If a cancer begins in the rectum, it is typically (and more appropriately) called rectal cancer but may also be referred to as colorectal cancer.

Why does the V Foundation fund colorectal cancer research?

  • Overall, colorectal cancer deaths have been declining since 1985; however, of the more than 150,000 cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2023, more than 13% are predicted to be in adults younger than 50, representing a 9% increase in just three years.
  • Colorectal cancer diagnosed in younger adults tends to be more aggressive. Contributing factors likely include diet, alcohol consumption and differences in tumor biology. Immunotherapy drugs have thus far been ineffective in treating colorectal cancers, except for Lynch Syndrome patients and patients with genetic susceptibility.
  • New combination treatments are needed to kill colorectal cancer cells especially in the case of late-stage disease.
  • Less invasive and less costly tests are needed for early-stage disease.
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