March 2023: In 2020, nearly 2 million cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed globally, making it the third most prevalent cancer type. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, accounting for nearly 1 million deaths annually. Despite the existence of effective screening techniques that could reduce the number of deaths from this disease, this is the case.
Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is observed in March to highlight the importance of colorectal cancer screening and to promote healthy lifestyle habits that can reduce a person’s risk of developing cancer of the colon, rectum, or anus – the three distinct cancer types collectively referred to as colorectal cancer.
Asia has the highest incidence of colorectal cancer, accounting for more than half of all cases and deaths. More than half a million new cases and more than 280 thousand deaths occur annually in China alone. Japan has the second highest rate of colorectal cancer deaths, nearly 60,000 per year.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) projects that the global burden of colorectal cancer will increase by 56% between 2020 and 2040, reaching over 3 million new cases annually. The estimated increase in disease-related deaths is even greater, by 69%, to approximately 1,6 million deaths worldwide in 2040. The majority of growth is anticipated to occur in nations with a high Human Development Index.
Researchers at the IARC have demonstrated that a variety of factors can increase or decrease an individual’s risk of developing colorectal cancer. The majority of these factors also increase or decrease the risk of developing other types of cancer.
In 2020, alcohol consumption was responsible for over 160 000 new cases of colorectal cancer, or 8% of all cases of the disease. Additionally, alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing at least six additional types of cancer, including liver cancer and breast cancer.
Tobacco smoking, which causes lung cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which causes cervical cancer, are two additional known cancer risk factors. Additionally, these two risk factors contribute to the incidence of colorectal cancer.
Obesity is another factor that increases the risk of colorectal cancer. More than 85,000 cases of colon cancer and 25,000 cases of rectal cancer were attributed to obesity in 2012, or approximately 23% of all cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed that year. Additionally, obesity increases the risk of developing at least seven other types of cancer.
A person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer can be reduced by intentional weight loss, physical activity, and diets high in fish, fruits, and vegetables. Participation in organised screening increases the likelihood of detecting colorectal cancer at an earlier stage, when it may be more manageable and treatable. A selection of IARC-related research projects are highlighted in this section.
What are the ways to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer?
Screening and early diagnosis: Cancer screenings are tests that look for the disease before symptoms appear. These tests can find colon or rectal cancer earlier, when treatments are more likely to be successful. The American Cancer Society recommends that average-risk individuals begin testing at age 45. In addition to detecting and removing precancerous growths (polyps) in the colon or rectum, certain colorectal screening tests can also detect and remove precancerous growths (polyps) in the colon or rect Polyps are not cancer, but cancer can develop in polyps over time. Eliminating them decreases the risk of cancer. Talk to your health care provider about when you should start screening and which tests might be right for you.
Healthy diet: Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Diets that include lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains have been linked with a decreased risk of colon or rectal cancer. Also, eat less red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and processed meats (hot dogs and some luncheon meats), which have been linked with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
Get regular exercise: If you are not physically active, you may have a greater chance of developing colorectal cancer.
Take control of your weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of getting and dying from colon or rectal cancer. Eating healthier and increasing your physical activity can help you control your weight.
Don’t smoke: People who have been smoking for a long time are more likely than people who don’t smoke to develop and die from colon or rectal cancer.
Avoid alcohol: Alcohol use has been linked with a higher risk of colorectal cancer. It is best to not drink alcohol. But if you do, the American Cancer Society recommends no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. A single drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor).
Research shows that habits related to diet, weight, and exercise are strongly linked to colorectal cancer risk. Changing some of these lifestyle habits may be hard. But making the changes can also lower the risk for many other types of cancer, as well as other serious diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
CAR T-Cell therapy in China has grown at a very rapid rate and currently there are more than 750 clinical trials being conducted in China on different types of cancer. Clinical trials for advanced stage colon cancer is ongoing in some of the leading cancer hospitals in China.