They both save lives.
During March, Americans are urged to pay particular attention to one of the most prevalent—and preventable—cancers, colorectal cancer (CRC). Screening for CRC is proven to save lives, just as seat belts do. The mission of the Oncology Center of Excellence at Connexion Healthcare is to communicate relevant, evidenced-based scientific information to health care providers to improve patient outcomes. It only follows with our mission that we would help spread the message that CRC deserves this heightened awareness and is an important public health issue recognized by the US Preventive Services Task Force.
What Is the Problem?
CRC is a very common cancer. About 133,000 new cases of CRC were diagnosed in 2015, roughly
1 in every 2400 individuals. Today, it is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States (after lung and prostate cancer in men, and lung and breast cancer in women). CRC is not only common, it is deadly, having resulted in approximately 50,000 deaths in the United States in 2015. That’s more than the number of US motor-vehicle fatalities every year. In fact, CRC remains the third deadliest cancer among both men and women, despite the fact that the incidence of CRC has been decreasing for most of the last 20 years.
Why Is CRC Deadly?
CRC is 1 of only 2 cancer types deemed preventable through screening and early detection. This cancer is believed to develop slowly over a period of 10 to 15 years in well-defined stages, beginning with precancerous adenomas (polyps) that are easily removed before they become cancerous. CRC that is detected at an early, localized stage, before it has become invasive or spread, is highly treatable. The 5-year survival rate in early stage CRC is 90%. Unfortunately, only approximately 40% of individuals are diagnosed with early stage disease, which typically does not have symptoms.
What Is the Solution?
Simply put, get screened. CRC is commonly diagnosed at 50 years of age and older and peaks in frequency at age 65; it is rare in children and adolescents. Those aged 50 to 75 derive the most benefit from screening, and it is estimated that roughly half of deaths from CRC per year could be prevented by screening. Thus, current guidelines recommend that regular colon screening begin at age 50 for most individuals. People with a family history of CRC or other risk factors may be advised to begin screening earlier, in consultation with their physician.
A variety of effective screening tests are used alone or in combination, including colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy (both visual examinations), and simpler tests to detect occult (hidden) blood in stool. Unfortunately, CRC screening is underused, and about one-third of adults aged 50 to 75 are not getting screened. Because several screening options exist and because screening is proven to save lives, just as seats belt do, there are no good excuses for not taking simple measures to prevent this disease.
Additional information about CRC can be obtained at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/features/signs-and-symptoms-of-colon-cancer
About the Connexion Healthcare Oncology Center of Excellence
Connexion Healthcare is a full-service global provider of strategic medical and scientific communications with decades of experience providing exceptional service to the pharmaceutical industry. We provide services through 2 Centers of Excellence—Oncology and Rare Disease—and possess core expertise in these therapeutic areas and their marketplaces.
Connexion Healthcare’s Oncology Center of Excellence offers executive talent with decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Our medical directors have conducted oncology research at leading institutions and major pharmaceutical companies. Our account leads have years of project execution expertise, and our medical editors are versed in the language of oncology. Our design leads are tops in their fields and ensure that your objectives are met effectively and even surpassed in an industry-eloquent and compliant manner. Our team works with you to conceive a strategy and execute communications through your product’s lifespan – from drug discovery through market launch and beyond. With particular expertise in phase 2 through postlaunch, we will engage with you wherever you are in development and whenever you need us.
For further information regarding the Oncology Center of Excellence at Connexion Healthcare and how we can develop oncology communications to differentiate therapies by their unique attributes, contact:
R. Steven Lang
Senior Vice President, Oncology
Val Sudakin, PhD
Senior Vice President, Head of Scientific Services