Colorectal Cancer Archive


New approaches to colorectal cancer screening

Screening methods for colorectal cancer continue to evolve. Stool tests are becoming more accurate, and it appears that an experimental blood test might one day provide another effective screening option. The most accurate colorectal cancer screening is a colonoscopy, which allows a doctor to peer inside the colon and rectum, find cancers, and remove potentially precancerous polyps on the spot to prevent future cancer. It's unclear if a stool or blood test will ever be as good for screening as a colonoscopy.

Colon cancer risks higher in people with diabetes

A 2023 study suggests that having diabetes may be tied to a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than not having diabetes.

Lynch syndrome: Reclaiming power

Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition that predisposes people to colorectal, uterine, ovarian, and other forms of cancer. Genetic testing can pinpoint Lynch syndrome, and genetic counseling is also recommended. People with Lynch syndrome need frequent cancer screenings and should watch for symptoms. Women with Lynch syndrome are also advised to undergo risk-reducing surgery that removes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus between ages 35 and 40, unless a woman is planning another pregnancy.

Cardiorespiratory fitness may protect men from some cancers

According to a 2023 observational study, greater cardiorespiratory fitness in men was linked to a lower risk of death from colon, lung, or prostate cancer.

When — and how — should you be screened for colon cancer?

In the US population as a whole, deaths from colon cancer have been declining, but in people under 50 that rate has increased. Most major medical organizations recommend screening beginning at age 45 for people at average risk.

Do I still need a colonoscopy?

A 2022 study led to questions regarding whether colonoscopy is the best strategy to reduce the risk of death from colon cancer. But overwhelming evidence supports the procedure for lowering the risk of colon cancer and related death, and experts continue to recommend people at average risk get at least one colonoscopy beginning at age 45.

The latest in cancer treatments

Groundbreaking cancer treatments continuously emerge from labs and research trials. Three Harvard oncologists share what stands out in their respective fields of prostate, lung, and colon cancer, the most common cancers among men. Examples include greater roles for immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and intensive hormonal treatments.

How well do colonoscopies prevent colorectal cancer? What you need to know

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among Americans. A recent study raised questions about the value of screening colonoscopy, which can identify and remove precancerous growths, and our experts weigh in with answers.

You don't say? Is there anything right about being left-handed?

Left-handers make up only 10% of the population. Despite some common beliefs, science has yet to show that left-handers have any specific advantages or disadvantages over right-handed people in terms of physical abilities, cognitive health, or longevity.

Women who undergo earlier screening less likely to develop colorectal cancer

A 2022 study found that women who begin colorectal cancer screening at age 45 with colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy are far less likely to develop the disease than women who don't undergo any screening or who start screening at age 50.

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