A new study from the University of Illinois Chicago found early-stage colon cancer patients who received chemotherapy after surgery had increased survival rates. This study was groundbreaking because previous studies had only looked at higher risk cancer patients. This study, on the other hand, looked at stage 2 cancer patients.
"For many years, studies have included, but not focused on, stage 2 colon cancer patients," says lead author Dr. Ajay Maker. "This study, which looks at the largest group of stage 2 colon cancer patients to date, set out to better understand the role of adjuvant [or post-surgery] chemotherapy in treating patients that are fighting this specific type and stage of cancer."
Typically, colon cancer patients will talk with their doctor about post-surgery chemotherapy, but usually a patient will not receive chemotherapy after the tumor is removed. High risk patients, on the other hand, may have chemotherapy after their surgery. The study shows surgery with chemotherapy afterwards has great benefits for even a low-risk patient.
"Certainly, we expected to see differences in the data," Dr. Maker, "But to find a clinically relevant association with overall survival across all subgroups of patients, including low-risk patients, is noteworthy and very relevant to future research on the potential use of adjuvant chemotherapy as a treatment for stage 2 colon cancer."
For the study, researchers looked at about 150,000 people with stage 2 colon cancer and whether or not they received post-surgery chemotherapy. Those who did receive post-surgery chemotherapy survived longer than those who did not.
Once again, this study shows how doctors can continue to improve and personalize colon cancer treatment. Remember, getting screened is the best way to find pre-cancerous growths and early-stage colon cancer. As this study shows, catching colon cancer in its early stages greatly increases chances for survival.
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