New Research Gives Hope to Patients with Advanced Colorectal Cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide. As per WHO it accounted for nearly 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Researchers have spent years working on new cancer treatments that fetch better results with minimal side effects. Only recently have these efforts come to fruition with the discovery of new treatments that can possibly cure cancer.
However, there is still a long way to go as several treatments are in the approval phase.

Scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have recently discovered a new treatment that can benefit patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is a tumor that starts in the colon and spreads across lungs, bones, liver, and other body parts. The researchers discovered that vitamin-D supplements along with the standard chemotherapy can effectively reduce progression of the disease.

High Dose of Vitamin D Lowered the Disease Progression

The scientists conducted a clinical trial with a group of colorectal cancer patients to evaluate the benefits of the drug. They had formed two groups to check the effects of high and low dose of vitamin D. The results suggested that the condition of patients consuming high dose vitamin D was 36% less likely to deteriorate. It also suggested that the drug remarkably reduced disease progression in the high dose group. Initially, researchers conducted this trial with a less number of patients. However, the encouraging results prompted them to launch a larger trial.

Researchers conducted phase two of the trial on patients recruited from 11 community centers across the U.S. The patients received chemotherapy along with a regimen called mFOLFOX6 plus bevacizumab. The primary outcome suggested that patients with a high dose of vitamin D had higher survival rates and lower disease progression. However, further research suggested that the effect of the drug was poor on obese patients. Kimmie Ng, director of clinical research in Dana-Farber’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Center said that the findings are extremely important. Further, he said that it identifies a safe and cost-effective treatment for advanced colorectal cancer.

Study Finds Ascent in Colorectal Cancer Death Rate in Young, White Adults

The American Medical Association reported an alarming increase in death rate on account of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer, typically associated with aged people, is notably claiming much younger, white adults. Rebec Siegel, lead author of the report, and epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, states that over the past decade colorectal cancer has been prevalently claiming people under the age of 55. The change in the trend earlier associated with the disease has changed, and it is not clear why. The study, however, reports a decline in the death rate by 2% annually in the previous decades.

However, Young Black Adults Witness Drop in Death Rates

The researchers are puzzled, as colorectal cancer risk is strongly linked to obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Black adults have a higher percentage of obesity among their ranks, as compared to whites. Yet, mortality has declined over the same duration among this population in America according to the report. The study finds that between 2004 and 2014, deaths due to colorectal cancer rose from 3.6 to 4.1 deaths per 100,000 people, between the age group of 20 to 54. It is approximately a rate of 1.4 percent annually. Furthermore, the cancer is predicted to cause over 50,000 deaths in 2017. The analysts stress on the importance of taking screening tests before reaching the age of 50, especially those with family history.