Sun lovers rejoice: recent studies show that vitamin D may slow down colorectal cancer growth. A new trial called SUNSHINE, conducted at 11 United States academic and community cancer centers, showed positive results for patients with advanced colorectal cancer.

In the study, two groups of 139 participants with advanced colorectal cancer took either a high-dose or low-dose of vitamin D3in combination with their chemotherapy treatments. In the high-dose group, the disease progression stopped for 13 months on average. In the low-dose group, the disease progression stopped for 11 months on average.

Perhaps most impressively, the study showed that high-dose group participants were less likely to have disease progression or death in their almost two-year follow-up period.

Before you jump into the sun, there are a few things to understand about vitamin D. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimates that 1 billion humans worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency. If you live north of the line that connects Philadelphia to San Francisco, chances are you may not get enough vitamin D in through the sun. Additionally, you would need to walk outside for 15 minutes a day to get the necessary amount. The best way for most people to get an adequate dose of vitamin D is through a supplement. Talk to your health care provider if you think that you should add more vitamin D into your diet.

While a larger trial is required to confirm that vitamin D may slow colorectal cancer growth, this is exciting news for families who are impacted by this deadly cancer. As the second-deadliest cancer in the United States, the chance of vitamin D playing a role in reducing disease progression in cancer patients is optimistic.

Learn more about the facts regarding colorectal cancer and what puts you at risk.

 

 

 

 

The Colon Cancer Foundation is pleased to announce Dr. Jenny Lazarus as a recipient of the 2019 Colorectal Cancer Research Scholar Award. Dr. Lazarus currently focuses on immune therapy, combined with looking at colon cancer at a microscopic level to understand how the cancer cells interact with other cells. She will join the Colon Cancer Foundation at the Colorectal Cancer Research Scholar Award Presentation this year. Read our interview to learn more about Dr. Lazarus and her role in colorectal cancer research.

Tell us about your background.

I am from a small town in the mountains of Northern California. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Davis in Classical Civilizations with an emphasis on Latin poetry and Roman art. I completed my Medical Degree from Ross University in Dominica, West Indies. I have traveled to many places in my life and my ultimate goals are a cure for cancer and relief to pain and suffering in the world.

What made you interested in colon cancer research?

Colon cancer has afflicted many people and although we have made improvements, a large group of people are still suffering.

Tell us about your past work and research efforts in the past and its significance to colon cancer.

My past work as a surgeon in training at Texas Tech Health Science Center in Lubbock Texas, where I will return to finish my training this July, has and will prepare me to treat individuals who have colon cancer surgically. My research efforts at the University of Michigan have focused on patients who have colon cancer that has spread to other organs where surgery is no longer a cure.

When did you first know that you wanted to work in surgery, and why were you so passionate about that?

During my third year of surgical training, I was involved in the care of a child that was diagnosed with cancer that was not able to be cured by surgery alone. We employed the help of other physicians who were research scientists for the care of the child. That experience helped refine my focus into pursuing a career where I could not only alleviate suffering with surgery but also investigate the cancer itself to further enhance the life of the patients where surgery alone was not a cure.

Describe the current colorectal cancer research you are conducting.

Immune therapy is currently used to treat a small subset of patients with colon cancer. In this small group of people, the tumor itself is unique and the treatment is effective often giving patients a cure. We are looking at colon cancer at a microscopic level to understand how the cancer cells are interacting with other cells. Understanding the immune cells in the tumor is just as important as understanding the cancer cells in determining how immune therapy works on specific individuals and not others. We are currently investigating the interactions between these cells. In doing so, we see patterns emerging in different patients with colon cancer. Each patient has a different pattern of cell types and some patients have similar patterns to each other. We found that patients who share a particular pattern of cells in the tumor are likely to benefit from immune therapy thus increasing the number of people who can receive and benefit from its treatment.

What is your mission and goals in the current work that you are doing?

My primary overall mission is to cure colon cancer. Although a daunting task, I believe it is possible. The cohesive and dynamic team in the Department of Surgery at the University of Michigan has brought together many individual’s research strengths into one collaborative unit where thoughts, ideas, and expertise can meld together for the improvement of the lives of patients. Our goals are to develop new ways of analyzing tumor cells and their interactions with other cells as well as increasing the collaborative environment with other physicians and surgeons to better the quality of patient’s lives.

What are your goals for your future?

I will finish surgical training at Texas Tech Health Science Center in Lubbock Texas and pursue a career in academic research as a surgeon-scientist. I have learned the importance of a team approach, a model I will take with me and employ when I establish a laboratory in the future. I plan to focus on innovative surgical and research techniques as well as foster a rich collaborative environment with not only other physicians and researchers but also foundations and the community to bring information and new treatments to patients as quickly as possible.

What would a colorectal cancer breakthrough mean for millions of people?

I do think we are close to a breakthrough! We were ecstatic to discover the possibility of another group of individuals with colon cancer that may very well benefit from immune therapy which is already being used in a smaller group of people. A breakthrough for a cure would not only impact people who have cancer, but also their friends, family members and co-workers. We are all connected in one way or another and any impact on the health and prosperity of even one person can influence the world.

Why is it so important that we all support research conducted in the field of colon cancer treatment and prevention?

As surgeons, we are able to help people immediately by removing colon cancer itself, this can alleviate pain, stop the cancer from spreading, and for many people this is a cure. Sometimes however when someone has surgery, colon cancer can come back. In addition, some people learn they have cancer after the colon cancer has already spread. In these cases research is the future hope for a cure. Individuals and foundations like the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation are vital for a cure. Funding for research is scarce not only for researchers themselves but for the equipment and resources needed for study. Support from the community is vital to a future cure.

How has the 2019 Colorectal Cancer Research Scholar Award changed your life?

This award really has confirmed the focus of my career. I feel supported in the research I am conducting but also feel supported as a researcher, this has propelled my energy and focus toward my future goals in knowing that the community supports not only my research but myself as a surgeon-scientist.

 

The Colon Cancer Foundation would like to thank all of our volunteers for their hard work and donations to make the 2019 Colorectal Cancer Research Scholar Award possible. Learn how you support Dr. Lazarus and work toward a cure for colorectal cancer at our website.

 

 

 

Do you know anyone in your family that has had colorectal cancer before? If so, you and other loved ones may be at risk to develop this deadly cancer in the future. You may benefit from genetic testing to see if there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Learn more about colorectal cancer and family history.

Lynch Syndrome Testing

Lynch syndrome often increases your chance of developing colorectal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer with Lynch syndrome ranges from 10 to 80 percent.

One way to discover whether you should get tested for Lynch syndrome is through the Amsterdam criteria:

You have three or more relatives that have developed cancer linked with Lynch syndrome.
One of those relatives is a parent, sibling or child of the other two relatives.
At least two consecutive generations are affected by cancer.
At least one relative got cancer under 50-years-old.

If you or someone you know has Lynch syndrome, the screening guidelines recommend testing during the early 20s or two to five years younger than the youngest person in the family with a cancer diagnosis. Testing should also continue every one to two years to identify polyps at the earliest time.

Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Testing

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) can cause polyps in the colorectal system, which may lead to colorectal cancer. If you have FAP, you may get polyps before the recommended screening time and lead to later detection. Genetic testing is available for those with FAP based on family history.

If you are diagnosed with FAP, screening guidelines recommend testing to start in the teenage years. The lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is almost guaranteed; many doctors recommend removing the colon in a person’s 20s to avoid colorectal cancer.

If you have a record of colorectal cancer and family history, reach out to your family practice physician to talk about screening today. Learn more about screening guidelines on our blog.

Let’s face it: we’ve all been there before with gastrointestinal issues. Chances are that you’ve encountered some of the symptoms of early onset colorectal cancer. However, do you know when to chalk your symptoms up to a temporary situation or whether it’s time to go to the doctor? Learn more about the early symptoms of colorectal cancer and discover whether you should get tested.

 

A change your bowel habits

If your bowel movement schedule changes drastically over a few days, you should see your family practice physician to know if you are at risk of colorectal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, if you usually have a bowel movement three times a day but now are only going once you should be concerned about the change in your bowel movements.

 

Blood in your stool that is bright red or black

Any sign of blood in your stool is usually not a good sign when it comes to your intestinal health. Bright red or black blood is an early sign of colorectal cancer and should be discussed with your doctor.

 

Diarrhea and constipation

Two of the more common symptoms of colorectal cancer, diarrhea and constipation often come in pairs. If you have a tumor in your bowel, you are likely to face constipation and then diarrhea when the contents are finally passes.

 

Frequent gas, bloating or cramps

While it is normal to have some of these symptoms, excessive gas, bloating or cramping may mean you are at risk for colorectal cancer. One way you to try to decrease gas is to watch your diet. Foods high in fiber, carbonated beverages and dairy may increase gas, so consider cutting those foods out to see if they decrease how often you pass gas.

 

If you have any of these early symptoms of colorectal cancer, learn about how to screen for colon cancer. The earlier you screen, the better your chances are of fighting this deadly disease. Make an appointment with your family practice doctor today to discuss colorectal cancer.

 

We have a large challenge on our hands at the Colon Cancer Foundation and we need your help. Colorectal cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in the world and is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States for men and women. We’re working to eradicate this deadly cancer, but we can’t do it without your support. Get involved with the Colon Cancer Foundation to help us eliminate colorectal cancer.

Volunteer with the Colon Cancer Foundation

One of the best ways to show your support for the over one million colorectal cancer survivors and their families is through volunteering. There are numerous ways to support the Colon Cancer Foundation and our life-saving programs including:

  • Volunteering during our Annual Colon Cancer Challenge
  • Working within your community as a Colon Cancer Foundation ambassador
  • Participating in our Young Leadership Board
  • Hosting an educational or fundraising event in your own community
  • Working with us in our office or volunteering virtually

Get involved with the Colon Cancer Foundation through making a donation

If you are unable to volunteer your time to help up eliminate colorectal cancer, consider making a donation. You can either donate on your behalf or honor someone special in your life. All donations to the Colon Cancer Foundation support our strategic initiatives: public awareness, prevention, screening, and research.

In some cases, you may be able to double your gift to the Colon Cancer Foundation by participating in a match program. Many companies will match dollar for dollar to non-profit organizations. Discuss with your HR today about showing your support for colorectal cancer survivors.

Make sure that you designate The Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation “DBA Colon Cancer Foundation” as the recipient of the matching gift (with the recipient address of 10 New King Street, Suite 202, White Plains, NY 10604).

For more information on opportunities to get involved with the Colon Cancer Foundation, please contact us at info@coloncancerchallenge.org or (914) 305-6674. We look forward to working with you!

 

Thinking that you might have colorectal cancer is a terrifying thought. What if we told you that the death rate has dropped for several decades in both men in women? Due to updated screening methods, earlier detection, and improved treatment, there are more than one million colorectal cancer survivors in the United States. Learn more about how to screen for colorectal cancer and what the process means for you and your family.

 

What do I need to know about how to screen for colorectal cancer?

Finding colorectal cancer when it is small – and hasn’t spread – is often key to higher success in defeating the third deadliest cancer. TheAmerican Cancer Society currently recommends that people at average risk start regular screenings at 45-years-old. This number recently decreased due to the increased rate of younger adults developing colorectal cancer. If you are in good health, you should continue the regular screenings until you are 75-years-old. From 76-years-old to 85-years-old, the decision to screen for colorectal cancer depends on your overall health and preference. For those above the age of 85-years-old, there are no current recommendations for colorectal screening.

 

What happens during a colorectal cancer screening?

There are two categories of colorectal cancer screenings, according to the American Cancer Society. Stool-based tests allow an opportunity for the discovery of polyps. Many stool-based tests for hidden blood in stool samples. There are no precautions that need to be made before the test, such as dietary restrictions. The other test, a colonoscopy, is often needed to further diagnose after the stool-based tests.

What happens if I get an abnormal screening for colorectal cancer?

If your results from the stool-based test come back abnormal, you will need a colonoscopy to diagnose whether you have colorectal cancer. During a colonoscopy, the physician will look at the length of your colon and may biopsy and/or remove any polyps. Colonoscopies need to be performed less, but they take more preparation than stool-based tests.

Learn more about what you can do to protect your butt against colorectal cancer. If you have any questions or concerns about colorectal cancer screenings, reach out to your primary doctor.

 

You may have heard that the American Cancer Society recently reduced its screening guidelines for colorectal cancer to 45-years-old. What does that mean and why were the screening guidelines reduced from 50-years-old? Learn more about what early age onset colorectal cancer is and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

 

Why were the colorectal screening guidelines reduced?

The American Cancer Society recently reduced the standard screening age for those at average risk of colorectal cancer for multiple reasons. The first, and possibly most important, is the increase of diagnoses at younger ages. Early age onset colorectal cancer occurs when people who are under 50-years-old develop colon cancer. While diagnoses over the age of 50-years-old and above are decreasing, those under 50-years-old are seeing higher rates of the disease. Reducing the screening age is one way to ensure that those diagnosed with early age onset colon cancer have a better chance of fighting the disease.

 

What can I do to prevent early age onset colorectal cancer?

Aside from regular screenings starting at 45-years-old, there are multiple ways that you can lower your risk for early age onset colorectal cancer. First, you can eat healthily and stay at a healthy weight. Avoid process meats and sugar, while adding in more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the first steps to making sure you stay healthy as you age. Second, learn about your family history. If anyone has had colorectal cancer in your family, you may be more prone to developing the disease. Additionally, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease may increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Finally, pay attention to early symptoms.[1] If you notice changes in your bowel movements or increase in fatigue, talk to your physician about the symptoms.

 

If you think you may be at risk for early age onset colorectal cancer, reach out to your family physician. Early detection is key in survival rates for colorectal cancer, so make sure to take your symptoms seriously and stay on top of your health.

Learn more about colorectal cancer and stay up-to-date by reading our blog.

Colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer, is one of the world’s deadliest cancers. However, there is a lot of confusion about the disease. Know the facts about colorectal cancer and what puts you at risk.

 

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer occurs where there are abnormal cells that divide and survive within your color or the rectum. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer often starts as a noncancerous growth, called a polyp. The most common type is an adenomatous polyp, also known as an adenoma. While one-third of people can expect to develop at least one adenoma, only 10 percent are estimated to turn into cancer. The chance that the adenoma becomes cancerous increases as it gets bigger.

 

How likely am I to get colorectal cancer?

In 2019, there will be around 101,420 new cases of colon cancer and 44,180 new cases of rectal cancer. Right now, your lifetime odds of developing colorectal cancer is 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women. However, there are various other factors that will affect your likeliness to develop the disease. The American Cancer Society predicts that there are over one million colorectal cancer survivors today.

 

Why are men more likely to get colorectal cancer than women?

Colorectal cancer is 30 percent more likely to occur in men than women. Risk factors, such as likeliness to smoke cigarettes and hormones, play a large role in making cancer more prominent in men. According to studies from the American Cancer Society, the median age for colon cancer diagnoses in men is 68-years-old and for women is 72-years-old. The median age for colon cancer diagnoses for both men and women is 63-years-old.

 

What is the survival rate for colorectal cancer?

Luckily, deaths related to colorectal cancer are decreasing due to earlier screening and advanced technology. According to the American Cancer Society, the relative survival rate for colorectal cancer is at 65 percent at five years after diagnoses and 58 percent at 10 years after diagnoses. One way to increase your chance of fighting this deadly disease is to follow the screening guidelines and pay attention to early warning signs of colorectal cancer.[1]

Learn more about colorectal cancer through our other blogs and get involved with the Colon Cancer Foundation to help us support colorectal cancer survivors and their families.

 

This month, honor the thousands of colon cancer patients, survivors, and champions by spreading awareness regarding colorectal cancer during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Since 2000, the colorectal cancer community has mobilized during the month of March to raise awareness, increase education and convince loved ones to get screened. There are multiple ways to get involved during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, starting with learning more about colorectal cancer.

Get educated about colorectal cancer

While colorectal cancer in adults over 50-years-old has declined, colorectal cancer is on the rise among younger generations. Today, even teenagers are being diagnosed at alarmingly greater rates. Around 13,500 people under the age of 50 will become diagnosed with colon cancer. One of the largest issues that screenings do no begin until 50, so these diagnoses will often become late-stage diagnoses. Make sure to have the conversation about colorectal cancer with your loved ones and your doctors earlier than later.

Wear blue to show your support

March 1 is officially Dress in Blue Day, but you can wear blue all month long to show support for colorectal cancer survivors and patients. Encourage your workplace and friends to wear blue to get the conversation about colorectal cancer started. Make sure to post to social media and tag the Colon Cancer Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Participate in the 16th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge

Join us for the 16th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge on March 24 to show support for those with colorectal cancer and raise funds for the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation. We are ecstatic to host the challenge this year at the Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. In 2018, an estimated 135,000 Americans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. If caught early enough, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. With the 16th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge, we can work together to reduce these fatalities. Whether you participate in the 5K or spearhead fundraising efforts among your friends, you are helping the Colon Cancer Foundation to improve the life of current patients, survivors and future patients of this deadly disease. No matter what distance you cover, you will make up ground in the race to prevent colorectal cancer.

Whether you choose to dress in blue or attend the 16th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge — we hope you do both — make sure to show your support during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Even after the month of March, you can help us fight colorectal cancer with the “Eighty by 2018.” Take the pledge to get screened,  choose a healthy way of eating and lead a  physically active life.

The Colon Cancer Foundation is excited to announce the 16th Anniversary of the Colon Cancer Challenge. This year, we will return to Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island to work together to educate about colorectal cancer and support those who are affected by its debilitating effects. Join the rest of the colorectal cancer community on March 24, 2019, to support the Colon Cancer Foundation’s initiatives.

 

What Is the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge and Why Should I Join?

 

In 2004 Dr. Thomas K. Weber founded the Colon Cancer Challenge. This year, we continue Dr. Weber’s work to increase public awareness of colorectal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 51,020 people will die from colorectal cancer during 2019. The lifetime risk for colorectal cancer is nearly 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women. However, with early detection, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. Chances are that you will know someone in your life who will be affected by this deadly disease. Join us on March 24 for the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge to raise awareness about the second deadliest cancer.

 

Where Do the Funds Raised Go?

 

Every year, the Colon Cancer Foundation raises funds in order to raise awareness of colorectal cancer, the importance of early detection and the most effective screening methods available. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered in New York State and listed by the Federal IRS as a public charity, we work hard to ensure that all funds align with our mission in the fight against colorectal cancer. The fundraising efforts at the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge provide free educational materials and participation in outreach events, among other initiatives:

 

  • A national tour of our educational inflatable colon – the Rollin’ Colon.
  • Local, state, national and global programs that promote colorectal cancer prevention and early detection.
  • Awards to young colorectal cancer investigators presenting at the world’s premier societies and conferences.
  • Funding to support the nation’s only Summit focused on early age onset colorectal cancer.

 

How Can I Participate in the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge?

 

There are numerous ways to show that you stand with colorectal cancer survivors and patients at the 2019 Colon Cancer Challenge. Our Two Mile Walk, 5K Run or Kids’ Fun Run offer a chance for the whole family to get involved. If you would like to volunteer, we have opportunities for all ages and groups. Please contact Marcline St. Germain, our volunteer coordinator, at 914.305.6674 or email at info@coloncancerchallenge.org. Additionally, you may download our Fundraising Toolkit to help raise money to support the Colon Cancer Foundation’s initiatives.