One of the really tough things about receiving a cancer diagnosis is not knowing what to do next. You don’t even know what you don’t know.
A new online program offers advanced cancer patients and their doctors the latest disease information they can share and use for customized treatment planning.
The College of American Pathologists (CAP) has partnered with CollabRx to give patients with advanced colon cancer access to an interactive program that provides information about various tests, treatments and clinical trials best suited for them.
This is the latest Therapy Finder that takes a patient’s specific disease information to chart a course for personalized information. The Colorectal Cancer app is available through the CAP website and MyBiopsy.org.
Therapy Finder apps are also available for lung cancer and melanoma.
The intent of this sophisticated program is to help patients share and participate in their treatment decision-making in a knowledgeable and meaningful way.
Who Is at Risk for Colorectal Cancer?
Every one of us is at risk for colorectal cancer. Over 100,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2008. The majority of people who develop colorectal cancer have no known risk factors.
Although the exact cause of colorectal cancer is not known, there are some factors that increase a person’s risk of developing the disease. These include:
Age. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases as we age. The disease is more common in people over 50, and the chance of getting colorectal cancer increases with each decade. However, colorectal cancer has also been known to develop in younger people.
Gender. The risk overall are equal, but women have a higher risk for colon cancer, while men are more likely to develop rectal cancer.
Polyps. Polyps are non-cancerous growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. While they are fairly common in people over 50, one type of polyp, referred to as an adenoma, increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Adenomas are non-cancerous polyps that are considered precursors, or the first step toward colon and rectal cancer.
Personal history. Research shows that women who have a history of ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer have a somewhat increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Also, a person who already has had colorectal cancer may develop the disease a second time. In addition, people who have chronic inflammatory conditions of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, also are at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Family history. Parents, siblings, and children of a person who has had colorectal cancer are somewhat more likely to develop colorectal cancer themselves. If many family members have had colorectal cancer, the risk increases even more. A family history of familial polyposis, adenomatous polyps, or hereditary polyp syndrome also increases the risk as does a syndrome known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer, or HNPCC. This latter syndrome also increases the risk for other cancers as well.
Diet. A diet high in fat and calories and low in fiber may be linked to a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Lifestyle factors. You may be at increased risk for developing colorectal cancer if you drink alcohol, smoke, don’t get enough exercise, and if you are overweight.
Diabetes. People with diabetes have a 30-40% increased risk of developing colon cancer.
““With advances in genomics, we now have a greater understanding of the genetic profile of a patient’s tumor and know that cancer is no longer a one size fits all disease,” said Stanley J Robboy, MD, FCAP, president of the CAP and pathology professor and vice chair for Faculty Affairs at Duke University.
“Our partnership with CollabRx will put this valuable information into the hands of patients and hopefully lead to better patient outcomes,” Dr. Robboy said.
These apps have been described as a marriage of information and scientific expertise that let the doctor/patient team identify specific diagnostic tests and clinical trials associated with therapies that “target” specific characteristics of a patient’s tumor profile.
“We developed the apps so patients can seek optimal treatments, not based on their zip codes, but on the molecular zip codes of their tumors,” said James M. Karis, chief executive officer of CollabRx.