Coming to an Understanding

CURE, Colorectal Cancer Special Issue, Volume 9, Issue 0

ON THE VERGE OF UNDERSTANDING: That's what the cover of this issue of CURE declares, and that's exactly where science is when it comes to figuring out colorectal cancer today.

Mike Hennessy, Chairman and CEO

ON THE VERGE OF UNDERSTANDING: That’s what the cover of this issue of CURE declares, and that’s exactly where science is when it comes to figuring out colorectal cancer today.

With notable recent advances accumulating, researchers are now on the brink of discovery when it comes to understanding the inner workings of this disease, and thus treating it with more precision—vitally important for a cancer that often hides silently until it becomes advanced and aggressive.

If you are reading this issue of CURE, it’s likely you have had personal experience with colorectal cancer. We’ve put this special issue together expressly for you, because we’re committed to keeping you up to date on medical advancements in the disease. In our article about treatment, we look carefully at the value and side effects of the various targeted therapies approved, in recent years, for use in combination with chemotherapy. And we look ahead at drugs in the pipeline, with a word of advice from an oncologist to patients: Help move research forward by enrolling in clinical trials.

Also in these pages, we fill you in on the latest developments in colorectal cancer prevention, diagnosis, survivorship and caregiving.

As we finished our work on this issue, national Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month was coming to a close. Rightfully, awareness activities in March focused on a very important issue — screening for the disease. Although, as you will read, colonoscopy screening is not a guaranteed preventive measure for every case of colorectal cancer, it is remarkably successful overall. In this issue of CURE, we grapple with the questions that remain about this practice: how to reach more of those eligible for screening, whether colonoscopy could be replaced with less invasive tests, and whether younger adults should be routinely screened.

We also explore several hereditary syndromes that raise the risk of colorectal cancer, looking at the often life-changing physical and emotional aftereffects of a diagnosis.

For survivors, we look not only at the difficulties of living with changes such as ostomies or preventive hysterectomies, but also at the hope inherent in evidence that a non-Western diet and regular exercise can improve outcomes and quality of life. And we highlight some important aspects of how to be a successful caregiver to a patient with colorectal cancer, as well as advising spouses in patient-caregiver roles on how to retain their intimate relationships.

Included in the mix is the perspective of one survivor of colorectal cancer, an entertainer who is grateful both to take the stage and to simply drive himself to the grocery store, and who is working hard to give something back to others undertaking similar journeys.

We hope that this special issue of CURE will enhance your own understanding of colorectal cancer, preparing you to ask good questions and make sound decisions as you navigate your experience with this disease.

As always, thank you for reading.