A Game changing colorectal cancer treatment
By now you might have heard of the exciting news about a breakthrough treatment in colorectal cancer (CRC). Here are some of the many headlines that are flooding the news wires:
‘New drug cures cancer for 100% of patients in trial ’ – Metro
‘ Doctors left shocked clinical trial cancer drug cures disease ’ – Daily Mail
‘ With the right molecular signal, a cancer drug works in every patient ’ – https://www.statnews.com/2022/06/05/with-the-right-molecular-signal-a-cancer-drug-works-in-every-patient/
‘ Small Study of GSK Rectal Cancer Drug Yields “Unheard of” Results ’ – Biospace
‘ A pilot immunotherapy trial is one step on a long road toward curing cancer ’ – https://peterattiamd.com
There are many more similar headlines that might give you the impression that a cure is at hand, but is that the case and what can we deduce from these headlines beyond the ‘wow’ factor? Having dug into the data we can say this is truly a breakthrough moment, but with a few big caveats:
1: It’s still early days; this clinical trial conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York had only 14 cancer patients.
2: Those patients who were treated with the drug, Jemperli, had early-stage, localised rectal cancer with a rare biomarker known as mismatch repair-deficient (MMR-deficient). Therefore this is only relevant for a small minority of people diagnosed with colorectal cancers.
3: Despite the initial results the long-term results of treatment are still uncertain. The question remains if the cancer will reoccur, or if the cancer will return in the long term.
An exciting era with promising new treatments
Truth be told we are living in a very exciting era when it comes to the fight against colorectal cancer; it seems that there are new early break-throughs regularly. For example:
- The recent announcement of the first patient to be injected with a Cancer-Killing Virus called Vaxinia, that has been found to shrink colon, lung, breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer tumours in animal trials.
- A cancer spotting camera pill being rolled out across Scotland that will help reduce the use of colonoscopies –
- New cancer detecting kits for home use (ColoAlert) that can be self-administered and detect colorectal cancer with a sensitivity and specificity nearly as high as the invasive procedure usually performed in hospital settings – https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/05/19/At-home-colon-cancer-detection-tests-to-be-made-available-in-the-UAE-
At Red Trouser Day we are committed to eliminating the scourge of colorectal cancer, the third biggest killer after lung and breast cancers. Even in the few short years we have been in existence the rate of progress we have witnessed towards this goal is honestly, far beyond what we could have anticipated. However, early diagnosis is still key in terms of achieving cure.
Having said that it is important to temper our collective expectations. Yes there have been some truly remarkable breakthroughs, and some incredibly exciting developments. But at the moment there is still nothing that can be considered a cure apart from hospital treatment (prevail link) involving surgery, radio-therapy and chemotherapy.
The recent breakthroughs offer us all a glimpse into a future free of colorectal cancer; wouldn’t it be marvellous if a newly diagnosed patient could be offered a drug that eliminated their tumour? Or a vaccine that prevents it occurring in the first place? This is no longer a pipe dream.
However, in the meantime we all need to be aware of the symptoms of colorectal cancer, and cancers in general. We need to educate those who might not be so aware of this condition and spread the message.
As we all know if caught early enough then colorectal cancers are totally treatable. Unfortunately because it involves a part of the anatomy that isn’t spoken of in polite society – a thing that must, and is slowly changing – many people still leave it too late to visit their doctors, preferring to ignore the obvious signs of blood in their stools, and other symptoms.
Also collectively we need to educate health practitioners too; unfortunately far too many GP’s are still of the opinion that this is a disease of the elderly, even though the evidence shows it is becoming far more prevalent in younger people under the age of 50. It can happen to those in their 30’s and younger. If you see your GP and are fobbed off, then please insist on a scan or colonoscopy; being placid can literally kill you.
To find out more about the symptoms and current treatment pathways for colorectal cancers please visit the red trouser day website – https://redtrouserday.com or our YouTube channel – YouTube.com/redtrouserday.
Going forward, we as a charity are committed to both raise awareness about this terrible disease, and raising funds towards funding clinical research into early detection and prevention. If you would like to help us on our journey please contact us.